The Capital District Police K9 Training Group, in cooperation with the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, established the Law Enforcement K9 Memorial site to recognize and memorialize the invaluable services these dogs have given to their agencies and the communities they have served.
The Law Enforcement K9 Memorial site was first proposed by Officer Douglas Nadoraski of the Albany Police Department K9 Unit and a trainer with the Capital District Police K9 Training Group (CDPK9TG). Various fundraising activities were conducted by the CDPK9TG and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society committed the grounds to this purpose.
The Law Enforcement K9 Memorial site was officially dedicated on September 11, 1999, a date whose significance could not have been imagined at the time.
The site is available for the recognition of any K9 that has served in a law enforcement capacity with any recognized public entity, regardless of the nature of the tasks they were trained to perform. Some of the dogs memorialized were trained as Tracking or Detection Specialists (accelerants, explosives or narcotics), while others were trained and served as Multi-Purpose K9s (tracking, detection, evidence recovery, criminal detection and apprehension, officer protection, etc.). The training these dogs and their handlers undergo is intensive, extensive and extremely demanding, as are the jobs they perform and the dangers they routinely face. Once basic training is completed and the K9 teams hit the streets, their proficiency is maintained and their skills honed through regular maintenance and advanced training programs.
Though most law enforcement K9s are German Shepherds, many other breeds commonly serve in this capacity and are also represented at the memorial site, such as Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Belgian Malinois and even the occasional mixed breed. Some of the dogs are purchased from working dog importers and originate from other countries, such as Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia), etc. Other dogs are purchased or donated by breeders within the USA and still others have been obtained from facilities such as MHHS.
Generally, the law enforcement K9 continues in service as long as they are physically able to perform the tasks for which they are trained. When retired from service, the dogs remain with their handlers, with whom they have developed a strong and unique relationship. This relationship is what inspired us to create the memorial site - to provide for the memorialization of the service and sacrifice that our "partners and best friends" have made for us, for our agencies and for our communities.
Each law enforcement K9 honored at the site is recognized with a stone marker. Each marker bears the K9's name, its employing agency and its years of service. Many of the dogs have been named in honor of law enforcement officers who had previously served with their respective agencies, some of whom were killed in the line of duty.
Many of the dogs recognized at the memorial site have also been laid to rest there. Some have been interred elsewhere, such as the handler's home. Some of the dogs recognized are currently in active service with their respective agencies and their markers do not yet include the ending service year. Each such listing includes the law enforcement K9's name, employing agency, areas of expertise, and breed and coloring.
The public is welcome to visit the memorial.