Cops and canines graduate from handler school

- Almost a dozen law enforcement officers and their dogs graduated from the New York State Police Canine Handler Basic School on Friday and are ready to fight crime and keep the public safe.

The officers are from the New York State Police, Albany Police Department, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Schenectady Police Department, and Tupper Lake Police Department.

With Friday's graduates, the State Police Canine Unit now has 90 teams.

"I've always had interest in being a handler. So far it's been the highlight of my career," Trooper Heidi Lyndaker said. "In today's society it's a great asset to have a canine as a partner."

State Police dogs are named for troopers killed in the line of duty. Lyndaker's partner is named Ram, which stands for Robert A. Moore, a trooper who died in 1941. Ram is trained in sniffing out narcotics.

The cops and dogs underwent 20 weeks of training at a facility in Cooperstown learning about basic obedience, agility, handler protection, building searches, explosive or narcotic detection, tracking for fugitives and lost or missing people, basic veterinary care, and land navigation and grid searches, police said.

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