New class of dogs graduates from Police Academy
Blood hounds, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers skated across the slippery stone floor of an aviation hangar at Floyd Bennett Field Wednesday morning as a crowd applauded them on their graduation from NYPD canine academy.
The 10 new four-legged members of the department’s Emergency Service Unit K-9 team looked back on 360 hours of training over a roughly five-month period in obedience and agility drills, including other specialties. As per NYPD tradition, six of the dogs carry the names of deceased NYPD officers.
“You will be serving on the front lines of our fight against crime and terrorism,” said First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker to the human members of the graduating class and their leashed partners.
In keeping with NYPD tradition, the majority of the handlers named their canine partners after officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Tucker said it’s a way of keeping their memories alive, and he urged handlers to share their stories with residents curious of the dogs’ pedigree information.
Officer Katrina Narvaez has a special connection to her dog, Freddy’s, namesake. When she was 9, her father Federico Narvaez was shot and killed on duty in the 70th precinct. The scruffy 3-year-old Labrador retriever-wiredhaired-pointer mix is a way to remember her father.
“It means a lot,” Narvaez said of working with Freddy. “Over time your memory of a person kind of diminishes … so just being able to say his name every day, it helps to keep the memory alive.”
Narvaez and Freddy are stationed out of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, but spend much of their time sniffing for explosives around Times Square and other parts of the city.
The furry partners in crime-fighting will spend their days patrolling the streets with their noses or tracking missing people, but to secure the bond with their handler, they get to go home with them every night.
“The canine becomes an integral partner to the assigned officer as they care for the canine partners during work and off-duty hours,” said Wilson Aramboles, commanding officer of the Emergency Service Unit. “It truly becomes a unique relationship of trust and care.”
And when the dogs reach the end of their careers, the relationship continues when their handlers officially adopt them in doggy retirement.
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