COOPERSTOWN—Warren County Sheriff’s Officer Terry M. Combs and Eric, a German Shepherd named after Essex County Deputy Eric P. Loiselle who was struck and killed in 2005 while issuing a traffic ticket on the Northway, are among the 12 graduates of the 2008 Basic Canine Handler’s School conducted Friday by the New York State Police at the State Police Canine Training Facility in Cooperstown.
Other graduates are from the New York State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Utica Police Department.
New York State Police Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt said, “Canines are a fundamental law enforcement tool in contemporary policing efforts. Using dogs’ enhanced sensory abilities, police officers paired with these special partners are able to track fugitives, search for lost persons, and detect explosives and narcotics, enhancing the public safety of New York’s communities”.
The 20-week basic school is conducted at the State Police Canine Training Facility located adjacent to Otsego Lake. The facility borders 2,000 acres of land owned by the Clark Foundation, which is used to provide basic training and in-service training to State Police and other agencies* canine teams. The facility has lodging for handlers, a conference room and training rooms. The construction of the $1 million,
8,000 square foot center was paid for through a donation by the charitable Clark Foundation through the efforts of Jane Forbes Clark, who has shown a special interest in the State Police Canine program over the years.
During the basic school, instructors train canines and their handlers in tracking, search and rescue, handler protection, and building searches. Additionally, canines are trained in either explosives or narcotics detection. As part of their training the students are called upon to assist in numerous actual searches.
The K-9 Unit was reinstated in the Warren County Sheriff’s Office by Sheriff Bud York when he took office on Jan. 1. Combs was chosen from a list of candidates to become the dog handler, became Eric’s owner and began training this spring.
There had been a K-9 unit in the sheriff’s department in the 1990’s when but former sheriff Larry Cleveland disbanded it after the two K-9 handlers in the department joined with other handlers throughout the state in efforts to be compensated for the care of the dogs during off-duty hours.
The following is a list of the graduating handlers and canines. Police agencies generally name their dogs after fallen law enforcement officers.
New York State Police
Trooper Vincent S. Abbate – Troop E –Canine “Van” named after
Investigator Robert VanHall Jr (Troop E – Narcotics), shot during an
arrest on Dec. 5, 1980.
Trooper Steven J. Campo – Troop L — Canine “Josie” named after
Trooper Jose A. Rosado (Troop L – SP Riverside) who died in a motor vehicle
accident on Jan. 24, 2007.
Trooper Jason B. Cresanti – Troop A –“Garo” named after Trooper Gary
E. Kubasiak (Troop A – SP Gowanda) who died after being shot on Aug. 30, 1982.
Trooper Jeffrey T. Dovigh – ESD – “Matty” named after Corporal Harol
Mattice (Troop C-SP Sidney), shot during an arrest on April 28, 1923.
Trooper Muharem L. Hasan – Troop F – “Marty” named after Trooper Martin
J. Kerins (Troop L) who died in a motor vehicle accident on Aug. 23, 1938.
Trooper Eric F. Knapp – Troop D—“Kenny”, named after Trooper Kenneth
A. Poormon (Troop F, Kingston) who died in a motor vehicle accident on May 31, 2000.
Trooper Bruce C. Shive III – Troop C – “Lock”, named after Sgt. John
H. Lockhart (Troop C – SP Highland) who died after an accidental fall on March 3, 1937.
Trooper Kelly R. Sitterly – Troop C – “Maya”, named after Corporal Harold
Myers (Troop G – SP Loudonville) who died in a motor vehicle accident on Dec. 19, 1950.
Deputy Vincent Dalo, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, “Dunkin”
Deputy Adam B. Hallett, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, “Nitro”
Police Officer Daniel Marcano, City of Utica Police, “Zen” 10-17-08