End of an era: Bundy’s Sgt Applebee set to retire
HE’S the longest-serving officer of the Queensland Police Service Dog Squad and after 43 years of service Sergeant William “Bill” Applebee will don his police blues for last time in May.
Joining the police as a cadet when he was 15-years-old, Sgt Applebee said most of his time has been spent in the dog squad, starting in 1982 with his first dog Ladd.
“I love the job, love what I do and I love working with the dogs,” he said.
“There’s nothing better than working with police dogs, but unfortunately all good things must come to an end sooner or later.”
Throughout his career Sgt Applebee has worked with six General Purpose Police Dogs, and is currently working with Angel, all of which were trackers and drug dogs.
As a dog squad handler he said you were always tracking.
“The work we do, we’re always in danger … someone’s got to do it,” Sgt Applebee said.
He said Angel would also be retiring, heading down to Brisbane with the QPS state co-ordinator to find a new home.
His dogs have worked with him on big cases like the Childers Backpacker Fire, the Trinity Bates murder, Kate Beveridge murder and armed robberies.
In 1995 a backpacker climbed the bridge and electrocuted himself and Sgt Applebee climbed the bridge and held him for about an hour until they could get them down.
“There’s been ups and downs; and there’s been times where you think to yourself ‘why would man do that to themselves?’,” he said.
“But you also see the highlights like the 2013 floods, the generosity of people and how people came out to help each other.”
Sgt Applebee said with the title of longest-serving dog squad handler under his belt, “I’m actually going to go for the Guinness Book of World Records and see how that goes”.
For Sgt Applebee, walking into a karate club as a child was the beginning of brilliant career as a police officer.
It was after speaking with cadets at the club that he decided he wanted to become a police officer.
His father was a dog handler in the British Army and hearing stories about working with Army dogs led him to the QPS Dog Squad.
While some elements of the role of the dog squad have expanded, he said there was still a need for tracking, searching and drug work with cannabis.
Now he said there were dogs working with cash, arson dogs, special drug dogs, but there was still the general purpose dogs out there “finding bad guys”.
Having witnessed the best and worst of people, Sgt Applebee said as a junior constable he was told to treat everyone with dignity and respect and stuck with him throughout his career.
He said it was an honour and a privilege to serve people of Queensland.