It’s a dog’s world and three Rockland police departments received equipment through a non-profit group for their K-9 units.
Spring Valley, Clarkstown and Ramapo received the equipment from the Onyx and Breezy Foundation, an organization started in 2004 by Mark and Wanda Shefts in honor of their two Labrador retrievers. The foundation supports a wide range of projects that advance the welfare of animals.
The Shefts will appear with the three dogs and officers to discuss the grants tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in the Rockland Legislature Chambers, first floor of the County Office Building, 11 New Hempstead Road, New City. The grants were procured by Rockland Public Safety Advocate David Fried, who works for Sheriff James Kralik on finding money for police across the county and other issues like recruitment.
Fried estimated the equipment is valued at $6,000. The following equipment was obtained :
• Technology equipping K-9 vehicles in Spring Valley and Ramapo with temperature monitoring to ensure a safe environment for the dog when the canine is unattended on hot or cold days during emergency responses. Remote pagers would tell the officer if temperatures inside the vehicles would endanger the dog’s health. The cars also would be equipped with a cooling fan that would turn on automatically at certain temperatures. The officers also would get device that automatically opens the vehicle door to allow the dog to respone in emergencies. Each departments has one dog each trained in tracking and narcotics.
• Computer software for the Clarkstown Police Department that would maintain records such as veterinary care, training logs and deployment. Clarkstown has the largest K-9 patrol program in the county with two dogs. Suffern also has a K-9 unit.
The Sheriff’s Department has two dogs trained to sniff out explosive components and one canine trained to sniff out accelerants for arson investigations. A third dog trained for the bomb disposal unit coming soon.
“The equipment that is being provided is a testament to the importance of K9s in all our lives, the noble service of K9s in law enforcement and the legacy of Onyx and Breezy,” foundation Trustee Wanda Shefts said in a news release. “As a society we have an obligation to support and provide for animals.”
Kralik noted that since the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan and Pentagon in Washington with hijacked airplanes, police dogs have played a larger role in law enforcement.
“Together with their human handlers, law enforcement has been greatly enhanced by police dogs in narcotic seizures, arson investigations, explosives detections and patrol work,” Kralik said.