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Campers are learning the basics of what it takes to be an officer in law enforcement and that includes physical fitness. Warren County Sheriff Rusty Hart said at this Indiana Sheriffs Association Leadership camp, kids will be exposed to different tasks to help make them better leaders.
“Expose some of them to some skills and some life lessons that they haven’t already learned somewhere else,” said Hart.
Eric the police dog has been on the job for less than a week, and he already has two impressive busts to his name.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office police dog, who hit the streets Wednesday after graduating from a state training academy on Oct. 17, sniffed out more than 50 pounds of marijuana hidden in a van that was stopped Monday night by State Police on the Northway, officials said.
That arrest came just days after he found a bottle of painkillers hidden in the grill of a car that was also stopped by a trooper for a traffic violation, said State Police Senior Investigator Steve Ortiz. Further information on that arrest was not available Tuesday.
Monday’s arrest came after an off-duty state trooper spotted a van and car being driven recklessly southbound on the Northway in Essex County.
“They were goofing around,” Ortiz said.
The trooper notified on-duty officers who began looking for the vehicles and pulled over one near Exit 23, with the second stopped near Exit 21, at around 7:30 p.m. Police concluded the drivers knew each other, and troopers smelled marijuana in the van, which was pulled over near Exit 21, Ortiz said.
A State Police search dog was not available, so Eric and his handler, sheriff’s Patrol Officer Terry Combs, were called to the scene. The dog quickly “hit” on the rear of the vehicle and alerted police to the presence of the drugs, and police found a duffel bag loaded with packages of marijuana in the cargo area, police said.
The drugs weighed a little more than 50 pounds, landing Lawrence Baker, 45, of Hogansburg, in jail on a charge of first-degree criminal possession of marijuana.
The dog also “hit” on the other vehicle when checking it, but nothing was found inside.
“Based on the dog’s reaction, we believe there had been something in that car, too,” Ortiz said.
The other driver was not charged.
Baker would not tell police where he was headed with the marijuana, but police believe it had been brought across the Canadian border.
Baker has dual citizenship in the United States and Canada, Ortiz said. That resulted in bail being set at $250,000 cash or $500,000 bail bond.
Troopers Jim West, Terry LeBarron and Brian Duncan handled the case, assisted by troopers from Troop B in Essex County.
Warren County Sheriff Bud York, who restored the Sheriff’s Office’s dog patrol program when he took office this year, said the dog — which is named for Eric Loiselle, an Essex County sheriff’s officer who died in the line of duty in 2005 — is off to a great start.
“He’s a great dog,” York said. “The best is yet to come.”
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