Elite Canines Receive Their Badges
By Edie Johnson
Twelve elite K9 trainees, and their handlers from our area, including K9 Jax and Officer Joe Mendez of the Village of Washingtonville, K9 Diesel and Officer Phil Mugnano of City of Newburgh and K9 Durak of the Town of Newburgh, finished their training and final trials and received their diplomas with congratulations from Sheriff Carl DuBois, K9 Unit Supervisor Sergeant Dustin Palen, Trainer Deputy Jeremy Yela and the rest of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at a ceremony in Montgomery last week.
This training takes years, and requires canines of extreme physical health and agility as well as instinct, native ability and obedience to do the job.
Other graduates included Deputy Dan Volpe and K9 Reno of the OC Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Kyle Frano and K9 Hydra of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Kyle Karcher and K9 Eli of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Officer Jonathan Saintiche and K9 Bones of the City of Peekskill, Officer Robert Reilly and K9 Yara of the Town of Clarkstown, Officer Michael Vigiletti and K9 Karma of the Town of Haverstraw and Officer Jordan Fedun and K9 Koos of the Town of Fallsburgh.
Not only did these teams go through rigorous training here in Orange County, they did field trips, including a training trip to Liberty Island where they looked for “hides (things hidden) on boats and on land. They had a chance for lots of social interaction with people as well as other dogs, had a chance to smell the odors of City life, become accustomed to crowds and the noise that accompanies lots of people, cars and trucks.
Washingtonville Police Chief, Brian Zaccaro and the WPD team of officers congratulated all of the police officer handlers and K9’s that graduated from the Orange County Sheriff’s K9 Academy last week with DCJS certification as police patrol K9’s. Zaccaro said “It was an important day for Washingtonville Police Department in particular because Officer Mendez and K9 Jax are the Department’s first K9 Unit and we look forward to working with K9 Jax and welcoming him into our police department family.”
Officer Mendez and K9 Jax will start narcotics detector school in November but are now trained and certified in obedience, agility, building searches, area searches, criminal apprehension, tracking and scent detection and evidence searching.
Washingtonville’s Police Department also thanked Village Board, Mayor Joseph Bucco, Deputy Mayor Paul Lang, Trustee Richard Calore, Trustee Valerie Laudato, Trustee Laurisa Sampson as well as past Trustee Diane Mack for their support and trust with starting this program. Starting a K9 program was talked about for many years between the Police Department and Village Board but it had never come to fruition. Last year when it was brought up again to the Village Board, they listened and all worked together to make it a reality.
SEE LOTS MORE PHOTOS OF THE K9 GRADUATION GROUP IN THIS WEEK’S ORANGE COUNTY POST!
You can follow Jax on Instagram at wpd_k9jax
Photo Caption: “K9 Jax” of Washingtonville Police Department with his K9 Badge (Photos by Scott Robertson)