Eight Canines Join Ranks of MTA Police Department
Eight eager and well-trained canines – joined by their human partners – entered the ranks of the MTA Police Department’s Canine Unit at a graduation ceremony held on Friday, June 14, 2013, in Grand Central Terminal. The canines, who are roughly 1½ years old and are German Shepherds or German Shepherd/Belgian Shepherd mixes, completed an intensive 14-week course with their human partners in which they learned all aspects of explosives detection, recognition and handling. The MTA K-9 Unit is believed to be the largest such force in the nation, with 50 canines in service.
“The MTA PD canines are one of our most valuable resources,” said MTA Police Chief Michael Coan. “Last year, our canine teams responded to over 24,000 calls for service and cleared 2,200 unattended packages while maintaining a watchful presence patrolling our terminals, stations and trains.”
Each canine forms a deep emotional bond with his or her police partner. Each pair not only works together for life, but they live together as well.
By tradition, MTA canines are named after law enforcement officers or members of the armed forces who have lost their lives in recent years. At the graduation ceremony, each canine team was united with the families of each canine’s namesake.
These are the eight new canine graduates:
- “Mikey” named in memory of MTA Police Officer Michael Aurisano. (His partner is MTA Police Officer Jason Wharton.)
- “Stiehl” named in memory of MTA Police Lieutenant Kristin Stiehl Murray. (His partner is MTA Police Officer Joseph DeVito.)
- “Glen” named In Memory of NYPD Police Officer Glen Pettit. (His partner is MTA Police Officer James Finn.)
- “George” named in memory of NYPD Police Officer George Wong. (His partner is MTA Police Officer Allan Fong.)
- “Buck” named in memory of Lance Corporal Gregory T. Buckley Jr. of the U.S. Marine Corp. USMC 3rdBattalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune North Carolina. (His partner is MTA Police Officer Joseph Terracciano.)
- “Geo” named In Memory of Staff Sergeant Jorge M. Oliveira of the U.S. Army 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment, 50th Brigade Combat Team. (His partner is MTA Police Officer Nelson Hernandez.)
- “Jake” named in memory of Specialist Jacob Fletcher of the U.S. Army Company C, 2nd Battalion Airborne, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Camp Ederle, Italy. (His partner is MTA Police Officer Richard Johnson.)
- “Matty” named in memory of Specialist Matthew E. Baylis of the U.S. Army 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Division, Fort Carson. (His partner is MTA Police Officer Eric Heimbauer.)
The MTA Police Department is responsible for patrolling the stations, trains, tracks and facilities of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway.
A video of the ceremony is available here.
Additional photos from the ceremony are available here.