10 Sep 2010

Charles Upham bravery award for dog handler

7:31 pm on 10 September 2010

A police dog handler given a bravery award in memory of war hero Charles Upham says it's a huge honour that's hard to believe.

Constable James Muir released his dog Neo to save the life of a threatened colleague, as a gunman attempted to reload a rifle.

The weapon had already been fired at him three times during the pursuit of a stolen car across Bay of Plenty in June 2007.

Two teenagers fleeing from a Child, Youth and Family bush camp had taken a car and rifles from a rural property in Ruatoki.

Constable Muir says the arrest of the pair happened so quickly, he didn't have much time to think.

The Tauranga constable has already received the top police honour, the Commissioner's Gold Merit Award for Bravery, for the same incident.

He is the 23rd recipient of the Charles Upham award since its inception in 1976, and the sixth police officer.