New York Troopers - History
Preserving the Past for Those Who Follow






The first NYS Police dogs were purchased in 1976 for a sum of $10,000 from the US Army with training conducted at the Baltimore, Maryland Police Department. Training was for explosive detection in preparation for the upcoming 1980 Winter Olympics to be held at Lake Placid. A new method of training was introduced to have the canines be sociable, allowed to be in and around the general public, and reside in the handler’s residence. Most canines up to this point were extremely aggressive and kenneled when not in use. This type training is now referred to as the “Baltimore Method”.

 In 1978, the Division of State Police having had success with the initial three canines began training its own canines utilizing the “Baltimore Method”. The first training location was the New York State Police Academy in Albany, New York. In 1979, the Canine Unit moved its training to Sidney, New York until 1987 when the NYS Department of Correctional Services provided the Unit with a training location on the grounds of Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York.

In 2000, the Canine Unit was given a permanent home in Cooperstown, New York thanks to the generosity of philanthropist Jane Forbes Clark and the Clark Foundation. The Canine Unit was provided with a state of the art training facility unmatched anywhere in the United States. The Facility is a 10,000 square foot colonial style structure set on approximately 2,000 acres of pristine countryside. The Facility can accommodate 15 students and staff and provides a variety of training applications that is open to all agencies.

There are currently thirty-one explosives detection canines, thirty-two narcotics detection canines, and three bloodhounds. The bloodhounds are utilized exclusively for tracking. Of the thirty-two narcotics detection canines, sixteen are additionally trained in cadaver detection. Additionally, eleven of the explosives detection canine handlers are also serving on the Bomb Disposal Unit.

The training program still follows the traditional “Baltimore Method”. However, in contrast to the first three canines, all canines are now generously donated to the Canine Unit through Humane Societies, private citizens, and breeders from all over the northeast at no cost to the Division of State Police. These canines undergo a rigorous screening process which includes testing in: sociability, play drive, aggression, agility abilities, and state of the art medical screening provided by the Division Veterinarian prior to assignment to a handler. Upon the conclusion of the canine screening process, the most suitable canines are chosen for the twenty week Basic Handler School.

In this twenty week training period, a new handler and a untrained canine are teamed together and undergo a strenuous program during which the teams are instructed in: basic obedience, agility, handler protection, either narcotics or explosives detection, tracking, building searches, veterinary first aid, and land navigation – map and compass course. The students are required to pass all aspects of training to receive certification. Upon completion of the Canine Handlers Basic School, the teams are sent out on patrol and receive re-certification bi-annually at the Training Facility.


Retired Sergeant JOHN J. CURRY enlisted in the State Police in February 1970 serving with distinction until his retirement in 2003, as a canine handler and explosives expert. 

In 1976, Curry along with Troopers Arthur Krug & James Keogh volunteered and were selected, as the troopers first Shepherd Canine handler’s. Dogs were initially purchased from the US Army with a six months training course taken at the Baltimore, Maryland Police Academy.   

Curry’s first dog was named CROW who was his constant companion for 14 years, Trooper Krug had MISS JICKY for 10 years and Trooper Keogh had BERETTA for 7 years.

In 1978, Curry was designated in charge of the Canine Unit. He immediately initiated a NYSP training program at Albany, NY utilizing the Baltimore Method. Dogs were donated or retrieved from Dog Shelters, evaluated, then put through an extensive six months of training. Dogs were trained in obedience, bomb & drug recognition and handler protection.

Curry related that while visiting the Troop Headquarters at Loudonville, NY, he observed a brass plate with the name Trooper ROY A. DONIVAN. Donovan had been shot to death by highway robbers in 1923. This generated an idea that came to fruition, when Curry began naming new canines honoring special individuals and those troopers killed in the line duty.

The first dog he named was BIG BOY BRUMMER to honor Bertram F. Brummer, a New York City Philanthropist who in 1968 provided a trust fund to annually recognize and honor NYS Troopers for bravery and devotion to duty above and beyond the call of duty. BIG BOY BRUMMER'S handler was  Trooper George R. Hamilton assigned at Troop "C".
The first dog named to honor a fallen brother was DILLON after Trooper Emerson J. Dillon who was shot and killed in October 1974 while checking a suspicious car. Second was DODGE named for Trooper Ray C. Dodge who was shot and killed investigating a property line dispute in July 1974. Dillon and Dodge were the first selected because they were acquaintances of Curry. Dillon’s handler was Trooper Walter Delap & Dodge’s handler was Trooper Steven Valk.
During the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, Curry was in charge of a team of nine (9) dogs that provided 24 hour security in and around the Olympic Venues. During his career, Curry trained 250 Canines for service with the NYS Police. A job well done and much appreciated.
Gary Kubasiak with canine Donivan #12- Killed on August 30, 1982- Troop "A" responding to a domestic complaint.
2011 - Melody & Randy E. Kubasiak (Wife & son of Gary above) with canine Bardo.
Sidney, NY 1981 - Blake Muthig seated - Gary Kubasiak- John Curry- Roger Cecce
1981 = Gary Kubasiak - Brian Finley - Unk - Roger Cecce - John Curry
 Michael Wright - Troop A
C.E. Klein            - Allegany -
Louis Lang          -  Batavia
Scott Saunders    -  Batavia
John Lubecki       -  Clarence - Cahill 
Andrew Szolnoky - Lewiston -  Harry
David Pinnock -     Albion      - Bobby
Michael Kozlowski- Perrysburg- Vinnie 
Donald Martineck - Batavia
Richard Barrett - Warsaw - Nugent
Lawrence Benson - Olean       - Rass 
Jason Cresant & Garro  - 2011
 Mike Ballow & Rov - SP Clarence 2011
Tpr. Mike Kozlowski - Vinnie  1987
 Jim Jackson -   2012
 Jay Hoy - SP Warsaw w/ Harris    2014

December 2013 - WARSAW — Harris the K-9 has quite the nose for police work. State police Trooper Jay Hoy is joined by his K-9 dog Harris at the Warsaw barracks. The dog is trained for drug searches, tracking and more.

The 18-month-old German shepherd can detect six different kinds of drugs — cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy and LSD. “She’s a tracking dog, and she’s trained in handler protection,” adds state police Trooper Jay Hoy. “And she’s trained in building and ground searches, where if somebody was to throw drugs away while running away from us, we could take her out in a field, and she could find it.” Harris is the newest addition at the Warsaw barracks. She and Hoy recently completed an intensive, 20-week training program in Cooperstown. It’s expected she’ll give eight to 10 years of service in Wyoming County and other areas as needed. “She’s very intrigued by things, which is probably one of the reasons she was chosen,” Hoy said. “She sees and notices everything. Everything.”

The state’s instructors seek dogs with high play drives specifically — a natural motivation, since they’re rewarded with a toy. The training sessions are eight hours daily, five days per week. The handlers add extra work after-hours, since it only makes the dogs sharper in the end. In that sense, the training’s a constant, and never really ends, given the performance levels the teams are expected to maintain. “To keep that level, you have to train with them all the time, even when you’re not at school,” Hoy said. “So on my days off, I’m training with her. When I’m at work, I’ll take a couple hours and train with her. Just keep her on her game, you know?” The training includes exposure to loud noises, such as gunshots and helicopters, until they’re no longer an issue for the canines. It sounds unlikely at first, but the dogs are also trained to walk on different surfaces, from shiny floors to carpeting — anything unfamiliar which might otherwise district or scare the animal. Gaining familiarity beforehand means they won’t lose their effectiveness in real-life police matters.

Hoy and the other police in his class also learned the capabilities and limitations of police dogs in the meantime, along with the legal aspects of their use. His training has also included veterinary skills, ranging from treating ticks, to puncture wounds, to cardiopulmonary resuscitation for dogs. As it is, Harris can recognize and act on his body language, such as keeping low and behind him during tactical situations. She’s got her own badge, No. 276, which she wears on her collar, along with a protective vest. Her name honors Sgt. Homer Harrison, who died 80 years ago, trying to save his son, after their boat overturned on Silver Lake. Harris lives with Hoy and his family at their Bennington home. She’s currently Wyoming County’s only narcotics dog, although state Department of Environmental Conservation police also have a specialized dog for use in their own investigations. Hoy thanks his family for their support through the training process, which meant long stretches away from home. He had long aimed at becoming a K-9 handler. “It’s something I wanted to do for a long time, and I had the support of my family, which was huge,” he said. “You need a lot of support to help you through it, because not only is it a long school for you, but it’s a long school for your family.” The state police conducted a graduation ceremony earlier this month. Besides troopers, the 13-member class included five other police agencies from across the state. Hoy’s new role allows him to keep his road patrol duties, while expanding the envelope of incidents to which he responds. “That’s the reason I really wanted to do it,” he said. “The scope is so huge, and we can be such a service to the community.

2014 - Tpr Dan Snyder / Canine Dillon (SP Schuyler)
Trooper John Curry & Crow - 1975
George Hamilton Photos provided by Linda Hamilton via
Trooper James Szenher. Szenher first met George Hamilton
in September 1987, when he graduated from the academy
and was assigned to SP Deposit,Zone II, Troop "C". He
described George as "one of the best of the best". He was
a truly great guy.
Tragically, George passed away in 1994 from asbestos related
lung cancer. He was survived by his wife Linda and eight children, April, George, Daniel, Michael, Steven, Mark, Kevin & David.
Left to right DeLap, Hamilton, Klien,Valk, Marshall
 Walter Delap - Major Ralph Smith - Bob Farwell - 1978-79
 Hamilton - 1980 Winter Olympics
 1980 Winter Olympics
  Eric ? - Wilder
 Big Boy Brummer
 1985 -  President Reagans Visit to Broome County
1985 - President Regans visit
Trooper John Lubecki & Cahill - 1986
Investigator William Tumulty
Trooper Michael Urbanski
 Brian Pazderski - TC  2012
  Joe Zupo - Tucker 2012
  Jason Cresanti - Garro  2012
 Dean Nolte - Nugent  2012