FORT HAMILTON, N.Y. – The New York City Police Department Counterterrorism’s K-9 unit conducted training, Feb. 23, at several Fort Hamilton facilities, as part of an ongoing partnership between the organizations.
Fort Hamilton’s Directorate of Emergency Services, which is responsible for physical security, law enforcement, and fire coordination response, maintains a collaborative engagement with the NYPD on a routine basis and looks forward to opportunities to increase readiness and safety of the community. The partnership with the NYPD provides various police, K-9, and counterterrorism support, which expands Fort Hamilton’s operational and mission capabilities.
“We are incredibly proud of our relationship with the NYPD,” said Mike Canter, DES director. “They have been a valuable force multiplier through the years.”
Canine Training Sergeant Patrick Doherty, NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau’s Critical Response Command K-9 Unit, said the focus of his unit is explosive detection.
According to Doherty, the canines deploy around NYC to landmarks, points of public interest, and special events 24 hours a day. They have a significant presence at countless large-scale events throughout the city, and their presence serves as both a deterrent to and detection of terrorist bombing attacks. NYC is the biggest terrorist target in the world, and has been for over 100 years. From lone wolf attacks to more organized bombings perpetrated by terrorist groups, NYC has an unfortunate history of dozens of targeted bombing attacks. Their canine training and deployments are a critical element of the NYPD's mission to thwart these types of attacks in the future.
Doherty shared that the canines go through a vigorous environmental training process before being trained to indicate on explosive odor.
“There is no more reliable technology or equipment available to us to detect explosives than the nose of a dog,” Doherty said.
Doherty explained that their canines must be comfortable in any setting NYC has to offer. From escalators and deafening subway stations, to the crowds of Times Square, their canines must be able to work in very distracting situations. The CRC K-9 unit differs from the majority of other explosive detection K-9s around the country in that they also train their dogs to detect explosive materials on a moving person.
“It is a difficult skill to teach the canines, which requires an intensive regular training regimen,” added Doherty. “The staff at Fort Hamilton has been fantastic in helping us with our training in this discipline. Fort Hamilton provides a unique environment to train in since it offers unlimited scenario-based training opportunities.”
The theater, which was one of the training locations, gave the ability to recreate stadium seating, outdoor open area searches, and storage facility environments. It also provided the unique ability to control the environment to a degree, and since the garrison is closed to the public, it provided the NYPD the capability to work the canines in a secure atmosphere.
“Our partnership and cooperation with Fort Hamilton serves all involved stakeholders,” Doherty said. Regular training of the canines sharpens their skills and creates a more effective tool to fight terrorism around the city. The NYPD’s partnership with the garrison adds an additional layer of security to as they provide real world deployments at the main gate and sweep the installation's many buildings.
“We look forward to continuing our strong bond with the staff at Fort Hamilton,” said Doherty. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to train on the base, and are proud of adding an additional layer of security to the men and women of our Armed Forces, securing American ideals around the world.”