May 20, 2016 By Michael Florio
Sunnyside students will get to meet a police dog and learn about the NYPD’s K-9 unit at a P.S. 150 demonstration next week.
The K-9 unit will teach students how to handle dogs, how to properly approach them and how to safely interact with them, on May 26 at 10:30 a.m.
Lieutenant John Pappas, who operates a canine unit facility on 33rd Street and Northern Boulevard, will lead the presentation. He will bring one dog with him.
“There are lots of children that get bit by dogs,” Pappas said. “We teach children how to act around a dog and hopefully avoid that.”
Pappas has led these demonstrations at schools around the City. He teaches students what police officers and police dogs do and also presents some of the equipment that they use.
There will be 400 students in attendance.
Jeannette Remak, a member of Sunnyside United Dog Society helped put P.S. 150 in touch with Pappas.
“It is important to teach children how to interact with dogs and that they shouldn’t be frightened,” Remak said. “They need to know that these dogs are police officers and are there for their protection.”
Pappas’ unit is unique as it patrols the City’s subway lines. He started the K-9 transit unit in 2006 and moved to the 33rd Street location in 2011.
The dogs are trained in explosive detection for terrorism prevention.
Dogs are trained in other fields too, including patrol work, evidence recovery, criminal apprehension, which is bite work, building and area searches and search and rescue, Pappas said. Multi-purpose dogs are trained in numerous fields.
NYPD dog training takes place at the 33rd Street facility as well as other locations around the city, including the subway. Dogs can begin training when they are about one year old.
While Pappas could not specify the number of dogs stationed at the facility, he did say they are not boarded at the space.
“We have kennels but they will only be used if a handler is on vacation,” he said.
“The officer takes the K-9 home at the end of the day,” he added. “It is a very special bond.”
The facility has a variety of breeds including German Shepherds, Labradors, Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.