Hands-on, real-world experiences are one of the hallmarks of student programing at Broome-Tioga BOCES, and that was certainly the case December 22 when New York State Trooper Bruce Shive and his partners paid a visit to our Criminal Justice classroom.
Part of the state police K-9 Unit, Trooper Shive provided detailed insight into a specialty field of police work that few get to see up close. Covering topics that included tactics, equipment and training – all spiced with a few personal experiences - his presentation gave students a firsthand, personal look into this important career field.
Joining Trooper Shive was his current partner, K-9 Lock, a nearly eight-year-old German Shepherd, and his future partner, K-9 Clark, a four-month-old German Shepherd mix. The older dog is due to retire within the next year and will be replaced by the younger animal. Trooper Shive explained that this is the first time the state police have assigned a new K-9 to an officer before the older dog retires. The reason is that Trooper Shive hopes to keep Lock as a personal pet after his retirement, and that can be the case only if the two animals learn to co-exist peacefully.
To qualify for the K-9 Unit, new handlers and their dogs must attend a 20-week training camp at the state police K-9 training facility in Cooperstown, where they undergo a strenuous program focusing on basic obedience, agility, handler protection, either narcotics or explosives detection, tracking, building searches, veterinary first aid, and land navigation. The handlers and K-9s are required to pass all aspects of training to receive certification. Upon completion, the teams are sent out on patrol (returning bi-annually for re-certification).
Each K-9 is named in honor of a trooper killed in the line of duty. Lock, for example, is named after Sgt. John H. Lockhart, who lost his life on March 3, 1937. Clark is named after Trooper Clark Lewis, who died January 19, 1936.