K9 ‘Recruits’ Honors Port Authority Deceased Police Officers

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The names of three deceased Port Authority police officers live on in a trio of two-year-old German Shepherds who have become the latest additions to the PAPD.

Cirri, Vinny and Penny will help search agency facilities for explosives as part of the Port Authority’s counterterrorism efforts, Port Authority spokesman Lenis Valens said.

All three K9 teams have completed 14 weeks of explosives detection training and are now joining the PAPD K9 Unit, which protects the people of New York, New Jersey and millions of daily users of Port Authority facilities. .

“These K9 teams will carry out their duties with the same selfless courage as their heroic namesakes,” the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association said following a graduation ceremony at Newark Airport on Friday, April 15.

Canids are named after three heroes:

  • Lt. Robert Cirriof Guttenberg, who died on September 11 while transporting a disabled woman to safety;
  • sergeant. Vincent J. Olivaof Bayonne, who was killed in 2013 by cancer developed during World Trade Center search and recovery efforts;
  • Officer William Perryof Piscataway, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on a PATH train in 1980.

Canids are “trained by the PAPD from scratch,” Valens noted.

“They are taught to detect 15 different smells,” she said. “Dogs learn the basics of obedience, leash handling and agility. They offer different signals to their handler when they detect explosives, such as lying down, sitting up, or raising their paw.

“Handlers are trained to notice their dog’s change in behavior when they encounter a potentially explosive device or material.”

The graduation included the handlers: Officer Erik Brozek (with Cirri), Officer Kevin Duffy (with Perry), and Steven Paluzzi (Vinny).

This year’s training class also included a member of the US Park Police Department who is learning to become a trainer, Valens said.

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