COMMUNITY HERO: Dog handler Sergeant Bill Applebee with Angel.
COMMUNITY HERO: Dog handler Sergeant Bill Applebee with Angel. Mike Knott BUN060718BILL4

Bundy's top dog cop is a hero

JUST what does it take to be a hero? They come in many different forms, from a mum who makes dinner, or a man who runs toward danger, to a colleague who listens at the saddest of times.

But for Bundy's dog squad officer-in-charge Bill Applebee, he isn't sure exactly what it takes, but it seems someone sees him as their hero.

Sergeant Applebee, 58, was nominated for a QBANK Everyday Hero Award. The award honours Queenslanders who go above and beyond for their community.

Sgt Applebee said he was honoured for the nomination, but it wasn't one he could accept alone.

For more than four decades he has been with the Queensland Police Service, and for the majority of it he has had a four-legged-partner by his side. "It's great to be recognised, I'm very honoured and proud and I don't know where it came from," he said.

"I've been in the job since I was 15."

 

Dog handler Sergeant Bill Applebee.
Dog handler Sergeant Bill Applebee. Mike Knott BUN060718BILL10

He is the longest-standing police dog-handler in the state.

In this time, Sgt Applebee said he had the intention to "climb up through the ranks" of the police force.

But the thrill of the dog squad role was more rewarding and kept him alongside the pooches.

"Sometimes I think I should have climbed that corporate ladder and then I realise for me, there is nothing better than this," he said.

"When your dog is on a good track and he has his nose down and his arse up and you're going through the scrub and know you're on to that bad guy.

"It's just like hooking into a big mackerel and that adrenaline rush you get."

He said you never knew what sort of job you'd get called to as each case was different.

"It could be a person armed with a gun or a knife or it could be a missing child," he said.

"Both myself and Angel (his current dog) need to be prepared for that."

Since coming to Bundaberg in 1991, Sgt Applebee said there had many jobs to remember, some tougher than others.

Through the sombre moments of abducted and murdered nine-year-old girl Trinity Bates to only last month chasing an escapee through the streets of Bundaberg.

He said the comfort Angel brought him in the situation was like nothing else - making it all the worthwhile working each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night with his companion by his side. As a father-of-four Sgt Applebee said the seven police dogs he'd seen through his career were all part of the family too.

"I have three dogs at home now, Yang who is now retired lives with me at home with Angel," he said.

To find out more about the Everyday Hero Awards go to https://bit.ly/2tXcGxI.