SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Police and sheriff agencies from around the state are welcoming new canines to their forces. Nine dogs and their handlers graduated from a nine-week K9 school Thursday at the Inner Harbor in Syracuse. Graduates will serve with a number of departments, including both the Binghamton and Utica Police Department.
Officials say it takes a lot of training for the dogs and their handlers, but it's efficient to have a K9 as a partner.
"It's a safety issue. It's more effective to search with a dog, especially today with shrinking budgets. If you have a break in in a facility you can use a little bit less man power. You still have to have a perimeter set, but the dog goes in and searches independently," said Sgt. Tim Stepien, K9 Unit Trainer.
Stepien says since the dog and handler are together 24/7 on and off duty, they form a bond that's stronger than a person and their pet -- they're partners.