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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Tuesday, February 9

SSPD K-9 Unit Q&A

I got an email last week from a resident in response to the story on the elimination of the K-9 unit of the Saratoga Springs Police Department. The writer asked several questions, some of which I will answer now.

1) What is the status of the other dog, Dara?

Officer Mark Leffler will be given the option to keep Dara as a pet. Sources indicated he will most likely take that course.

2) What will happen to it Officer Leffler does not choose to keep the dog?

If either of the two handlers choose not to keep the dogs they would be sold and reassigned to another department. Part of the incentive for the officers to keep them is the hope that the department will reinstate them in the near future.

3) Why were the dogs purchased from the Czech Republic?

The short answer is that the best service dogs are Eastern European. The breeds stem from the bloodlines developed to be border guards during WWII and the Cold War. A deeper history of the Czech breed can be found here.

4) Why are the handlers required to be on "overtime pay" while they attend training with the dogs?

The handlers don't recieve overtime while training, the officers who cover their patrol shifts while the handlers are at training sessions do.

5) Are both k-9 units required to be on the road at the same time?

No. Officer Veitch works third shift and Officer Leffler works first.

The other questions I recieved focused on the police union's reponse to the cut and specifics on the state certification.

I am currently making the inquiries into these questions and will update as I recieve answers.

A history of the Saratoga Springs Police Department's K-9 Teams can be found here.


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