NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The MTA Police Department’s Canine Unit keeps watch on trains, buses and at stations from Montauk to Poughkeepsie and New Haven.
“Dogs’ noses are 3,000 times more sensitive than humans,” which helps track explosives, drugs, criminals, evidence and lost people, Lt. John Kerwick said.
Kerwick runs a 72-acre, state-of-the-art training facility in Dutchess County.
“We have rail cars, we have buses, we have light trucks,” Kerwick said.
Sgt. Bill Finucane trains the German shepherds and Belgian Malinois to find a needle in a haystack.
“When we’re training a dog it’s all play and that’s what the dogs love. They love to play. When you’re training it’s like a game to them,” Finucane said.
But all of that play can be strenuous.
“A dog sniffing for 10 minutes is like you running three miles,” Finucane said.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams observed as Officer Alan Kirsch and 3-year-old Century looked for explosives on a train car.
“I can see changes in his behavior. His mouth’s closed. His tail’s wagging. He’s paying a bit more attention to that bag. I know he’s got odor there,” Kirsch said.
The canines are on the front line in the war on terror.
Sgt. Edward O’Flaherty said they develop a strong bond with their partners.
“All of our dogs they go home with us. They’re with us 24/7. They’re with our family,” O’Flaherty said.
Kerwick said they’re always on patrol.
“Last year alone we covered over 2,800 unattended items that our dogs investigated in our systems,” Kerwick said, adding none were explosives.