- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
The New York Police Department (NYPD) recently welcomed three-tour veteran and recently retired Military Working Dog Caesar to its ranks. The seasoned Army dog is the first war dog to work for the Big Apple’s police department as a member of its "NYPD Transit Bureau’s Canine Unit"; he’s also part of a new working relationship between the military and the NYPD.
Through friendly channels the NYPD’s K-9 Unit training supervisor, Sgt. Randy Brenner, has worked out an arrangement with "a Pentagon official … to allow the NYPD to use military dogs for police work once they’ve finished serving their country." The arrangement reportedly "saves the police force the $6,000 to $8,000 cost of training an inexperienced dog."
According to Brenner, Caesar’s war-dog life prepared him well for the streets of New York. After three combat deployments, the four-year-old German Shepherd had no trouble with the gauntlet of environmental tests Brenner put him through at a nearby haunted house — he doesn’t "spook" easily.
Brenner seems to be the right person to bridge the short divide between military service and law enforcement; he understands all the good an MWD can do once he’s retired from service with more working years still ahead:
"I look at it as, I’m giving a veteran a job," said [Brenner]. "Their sole purpose is working. Every day to them is a great day as long as they’re working. They’re excited to work."
An added bonus for Caesar, his new handler, Officer Juan Rodriguez, is also an Army veteran who did "two overseas tours" during his military service.
Hat Tip: TR and DJR.