NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Canine units are some of the NYPD’s most effective at tackling street crime and preventing terror attacks in the city.

“He’s one of us. His job is very important in the Police Department,” officer Wayne Rothschild said of his partner, 6-year-old German Shepard Danz.

“I love being with him. I’m with him more than my family. He comes to work with me. He goes home with me,” Rothschild told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

Canine unit dogs are highly trained and start their days with a workout, climbing stairs and leaping over hurdles.

Danz made use of his training while on assignment at one of the city’s busiest subway stations: Times Square.

“The dog has to be able to operate in this environment. It’s a very stressful environment for any animal to operate in,” Rothschild said.

In another test, calmly watching and waiting, Danz sprang into action at the sound of gunfire to take down a shooter.

“Most dogs hear the gunshot, they kind of get afraid and go backwards, don’t want to go in where he’s got to go in and take care of business,” Rothschild explained.

On the other side of the platform, vapor wake dog Rachel and her handler was on the hunt. Bred and trained to detect the moving scents of explosives, even in large crowds, with hundreds of competing odors, the target in her drill was a decoy carrying explosive material in his backpack.

She began by sampling the air, but once she caught a scent, she eagerly tugged at the leash and her handler, Lieutenant Pappas.

The decoy, an undercover cop, was carrying plastic explosives, in an inert form, but deadly when mixed with other materials.

“This is something that we practice regularly,” Pappas said.

The canine unit also employs cutting-edge technology. One example: an infrared camera was strapped on a dog searching for weapons while the officer remotely follows the action.

“Basically this technology enhances the primary technology which is the dog. The dog is the technology here,” Pappas said.

“Who’s better than him? He gets to go to work and he loves what he does,” said Rothschild.

The dogs generally serve about seven years with the unit. When they retire they live at home with their NYPD partner.

“At the end of the day it’s all about being safe, for myself, the dog, and all the citizens of the citizens of the city,” said Rothschild.

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