Six canines were barking up the right tree for the past eleven weeks and as a result are the first graduates of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Police Canine Academy. The intensive training session, which began in September, consisted of narcotics and explosive dogs, along with their handlers from various law enforcement agencies, who received special training in the search and seizure of drugs and explosive materials. The teams were from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Hazlet Township Police Department, Union Beach Police Department and New Jersey Transit Police Department. “I commend these canine teams for enduring rigorous training the past eleven weeks,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “They are a great asset to Monmouth County, state and local law enforcement agencies when it comes to combating the proliferation of narcotics and explosive materials.”
The canine teams, who were trained through tracking scent, consisted of four narcotics teams and two explosive teams. They trained on the SeaStreak Ferry out of Atlantic Highlands, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey Transit trains, helicopters, vehicles and vacant buildings. The program also focused on case law, crime scene preservation, basic obedience, agility, environmental training and socialization with crowds. “At this point these dogs are beyond being ‘man’s best friend’, they are their partners and share a special connection,” said Sheriff’s Officer James Fay, who was the coordinator and lead trainer at the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office 1st Canine Academy. “Through training, police canines increase the level of safety for their handlers and communities.”
The narcotics detection handlers included Sheriff’s Officer Joseph C. Aretino & canine Ari – Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Officer Kevin T. Geoghan & canine Diablo – Hazlet Township Police Department, Officer Edward Joos & canine Hemp – New Jersey Transit Police Department and Officer Christopher Tuberion & canine Mako -Union Beach Police Department. The explosive detection handlers included Officer Elaine P. Donnadio & canine Bosco – New Jersey Transit Police Department and Officer Greg M. Fallon & canine Kappy – New Jersey Transit Police Department. At the ceremony, which was held on December 10th, all the graduates received their diplomas and officially became narcotics or explosive detection teams who met all the requirements set forth by the Attorney General guidelines. “These specially trained canine teams will play a vital role in fighting terrorism and bolstering homeland security capabilities as well as continuing in the fight against drugs,” said Sheriff Golden. “They will remain vigilant and proactively address new threats that face the nation to keep our residents, counties and our country safe.”
Sheriff’s Officer Aretino and canine Ari are the second narcotics team in the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, the agency has four explosive canines and one tracking dog. They are called upon year-round to assist local police departments.