NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Fox 5 got an exclusive look at a day at the office for the NYPD's elite Special Service K-9 unit. The training on Staten Island involved finding a body buried under a huge pile of rubble—concrete, cars, boats, tractor trailers. And a police dog named Lindsay was a complete success.
This is the first time the NYPD has allowed a news crew to shoot this particular specialized training on the pile.
About a hundred police officers in the NYPD work with police dogs. Just nine of them are women. But Officer Christina Orlando and Detective Kristen Collins are hoping that number grows.
The NYPD is encouraging more women to join.
Detective Collins says the dogs are capable of amazing tasks and the men in the unit are great to work with.
"I never thought I'd be here. I wake up every day and I'm thankful," Officer Orlando says. "I'm so lucky."
These handlers and their police dogs are highly trained. It takes about a year-and-a-half for this special field.
Detective Collins's Dutch shepherd named Freedom sniffs out a gun hidden in a car. Another gun is hidden in a box, which the dog finds. After switching the boxes around, the dog finds the gun again. Detective Collins says you have to love animals and watching them find a suspect or piece of evidence is an amazing feeling.
Detective Scott Mateyaschuk is the lead trainer with the Emergency Service K-9 Unit. He says the female police officers in the unit are doing an excellent job and he hopes more women join the unit.
Officer Orlando's partnership with Lindsay has an even deeper meaning. Lindsay is named after Detective Chris Lindsay, who died from a September 11-related cancer in 2017. His wife, Maureen, and Officer Orlando have become friends.
Although Detective Lindsey made the ultimate sacrifice, Officer Orlando says that having a relationship with the detective's widow and the dog brings her comfort. She says that having a dog named for Detective Lindsay is an honor.