SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. Sleepy Hollow Police Officer Vincenzo Lombardi would give his life for his partner, police dog Gunner. Gunner would do the same for Lombardi.
I tell the guys here if you get hurt and the canine gets hurt and I'm only able to save one of you, it was nice knowing you, Lombardi said.
Lombardi and Gunner showcased their partnership and Gunner's skills on Sunday during the Sleepy Hollow Fire Department's first annual Open House to an excited crowd. Fellow officer Anthony Bueti and his retired K-9 partner Brom were also on hand to demonstrate how dogs are used in the police department.
Fire Chief John Korzelius praised the K-9 unit before the demonstration and jokingly warned residents If you have any illegal narcotics, get rid of them because they're going to find them.
Lombardi discussed the many advantages of using dogs in police work. The biggest advantage, he said, was that German shepherds have much more sensitive noses than humans.
What that means is that when you smell beef stew, you smell beef stew as a whole, Lombardi said. When a canine smells beef stew, he smells the beef, the broth, the peppers, the corn, the potato. He smells each and every single subject.
Brom and Gunner came from the Czech Republic. Lombardi said they're about seven years old. Brom retired last year.
Police dogs and their human partners go through a 17-week training course in Yonkers together, Lombardi said. A good deal of that training is obedience. The last test makes the dogs-in-training apprehend a criminal who is shooting at them. Lombardi called this the courage test.
Although many people may think police dogs are trained to bite criminals over and over, Lombardi said they're actually trained to bite once and hold the criminal down until police officers can handcuff them. The dogs are also trained to protect their human partners above all else.
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