Local sheriff’s office borrows NY Air Guard Base for dog training > Air National Guard > Article Display

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA, New York – The Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit was trained at Stratton Air National Guard Base on June 16, 2021.

The K-9 and their dog handlers were able to use the base route, the surrounding forest areas and a building to train in different scenarios and to bring the dogs into a new environment.

“When it comes to training here, it is always nice to bring the dogs into a new environment the more environments they are exposed to during training; the better they’ll do their job, ”said Jeff Calder, K9 administrative director, Sheriff’s Office, Schenectady County.

Captain Luis Robitaille, 109th security forces operations officer, said the training helps strengthen the relationship between the base and the division.

“We have a good working relationship, they are happy to help us as best they can and we love to reciprocate. We have been working together for several years and it has really strengthened our troop protection on the ground,” said Robitaille.

The K-9 unit is a four-man unit with dogs trained in explosives, narcotics, pursuit, and patrol. Calder stated that they are happy to take advantage of the basic facilities when they are available as they offer many different areas, from sidewalks, grass and wooded areas to different types of buildings.

“The facility is wide open, there are many areas and it is secured. We don’t have to worry about people who are not involved in the training entering the training area, ”said Calder.

Calder also said the division was deployed with the K-9s for explosives detection, including bomb and weapons detection, for dignitaries or major events at the air base.
Airman 1st Class Mitchell Mihalko, a Security Forces Defender assigned to the 109th, stated that the K-9s are a force multiplier or tool that will help increase their efforts to get more power.

“We work with the dogs quite often at large events such as family days or open days to search for narcotics, explosives or weapon scraps, and we also hold training events between security forces and civilian law enforcement agencies. They also come regularly for routine checks around the base, ”said Mihalko.

The 109th security forces have no professional field for dog handlers. Anytime K-9 assistance is needed, the sheriff’s department shows up and takes care of the base, he explained.

“We have a great relationship and we really learn a lot from each other,” said Mihalko.

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