GPD readies for new K-9 program

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council on Tuesday approved several resolutions finalizing details for the establishment of the Gloversville Police Department’s new K-9 program.

During Tuesday’s Common Council meeting Police Chief Marc Porter introduced Officer Michael Quattrocchi who was selected to serve as police dog handler by the department earlier this year through a competitive process that included an interview with a panel of experienced K-9 handlers from the area.

“We feel that he’s the right police officer to start this program,” Porter said. “Mike’s put a lot of work into this program from the ground up. We did that on purpose, we wanted him to see the work that goes in behind the scenes to build the program, to bring a program back that hasn’t been a capability for us since probably the better part of 19 or 20 years.”

The police department has been planning since 2018 to establish a city-based K-9 patrol unit and the council included $24,585 in the 2019 budget to launch the program.

“We’re excited,” Porter said thanking the council for supporting the program. “We can’t do this without the mayor and the council and really the community behind us.”

Porter explained that he wanted to give the council members an opportunity to meet Quattrocchi before considering three agenda items related to the K-9 program including authorization for the police department to purchase a 15-month-old German shepherd from Ashley Pierce of Sharon Springs for $5,500 with the dog to be transferred to Quattrocchi on Aug. 21.

The night’s agenda also included resolutions approving an agreement between the city and the Gloversville Police Benevolent Association on the selection, duties and compensation of the K-9 handler and authorizing the city to accept a dog kennel donated by Mohawk Valley Sheds, Cabins and More that will be located at Quattrocchi’s home where the police dog will live full-time.

The agreement with the PBA states that the city will be responsible for all costs associated with the police dog including the dog’s acquisition or replacement, dog food, veterinary care and boarding when necessary with departmental approval.

Under the agreement the dog handler will receive compensation for feeding and caring for the dog each day equal to one hour’s pay at a rate of 1.5 times the applicable state minimum wage. Additionally, the handler may be subject to recall to duty for K-9 demonstrations or police activities.

The Common Council unanimously approved all three resolutions on Tuesday and next month Quattrocchi and the police dog will attend patrol certification training beginning on Sept. 2 running through December through the Albany County Sheriff’s Department.

After the four month patrol training, Quattrocchi and the K-9 will take a brief recess before attending additional training for narcotics certification at the beginning of 2020, Lt. Brad Schaffer explained on Thursday.

Schaffer said the narcotics training will equip the police dog to detect several illicit substances including heroin, cocaine and marijuana before Quattrocchi and the K-9 assume active duty in spring 2020.

In the meantime, Schaffer said work is currently underway to upfit an existing patrol car with specialized gear and equipment for use by Quattrocchi and the K-9. The Common Council approved a resolution in July authorizing the vehicle upgrades to be installed by La Rosa’s Automotive Inc. at a cost of $8,158.

The patrol car will be outfitted with a Havis K-9 transport system, a kennel insert installed in the rear seat of the patrol car ensuring the safety and security of the K-9 during transportation and allowing the dog to easily enter and exit the vehicle through a rear passenger door.

The car will also be outfitted with an Ace9 Hot-N-Pop Pro heat alarm sensor that will transmit status information, warnings and alerts to Quattrocchi through a remote long range pager to protect the K-9 from the potential dangers of a hot vehicle. The patrol car will additionally be equipped with a 10 inch fan to further protect the police dog from internal vehicle temperatures.

By Patricia Older

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