MTA Police Canine Unit Receives 2021 Top Dog Award

DUTCHESS COUNTY, NY – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Police Department Canine Unit has been recognized as the winner of the 2021 Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Animal Medical Center Top Dog Gala.

The Top Dog Award is given to a group of working dogs in honor of their commendable service.

On behalf of the MTA Police Department Canine Unit, Sgt. Nelson Hernandez, Police Officer Daniel Gambrell, Police Officer Allan Fong with his canine partner, Daucher, and PO Giselle Gil with his canine partner, Willie, accepted the award at Tuesday’s event in l honor for their service and sacrifice.

“We are proud of the work our canine teams have accomplished from the start of training through day-to-day operations,” MTA Police Chief Joseph McGrann said in a statement announcing the honor. “This recognition reminds us that our canine unit is also made up of frontline workers, who serve and protect alongside a police officer.”

The MTA PD Canine Unit currently has 36 teams whose mission is to deter terrorism and prevent crime on the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, Staten Island Railway and at respective terminals and transportation facilities.

The MTA PD Canine Unit reinvented canine training to be effective in preventing terrorism in a post-9/11 transit environment. They implemented a unique combination of patrol, information, deterrence tactics canine explosives detection and have learned to adapt to different threats. as they develop.

The MTA PD has one of the largest canine explosive detection forces in the nation, according to the law enforcement agency.

In June 2015, the MTA PD Canine Training Center (CTC) was opened in Stormville in Dutchess County to better enable the extensive training required. The main building measures 20,000 square feet on 71 acres and is recognized as the nation’s most advanced and largest police canine facility. The training center is equipped with 26 indoor/outdoor dog kennels, a canine medical room, real-world simulated training grounds including train cars, railroad tracks and flagged railroad crossings.

“This award rightly puts the spotlight on our extensively trained canine teams,” explained Lt. James Chirillo. “Most people don’t realize how difficult it can be to train a dog for a transit environment – getting used to noise, crowds and even extreme weather conditions in some situations. The unit canine of the MTA PD is truly a special dog.”

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