Top dogs: MTA police pups win big at nationwide competition

An MTA police officer stands with a police canine. Photo via the MTA.

An MTA police officer stands with a police canine. Photo via the MTA.

By Jonathan Sperling

Who let the dogs out?

The MTA Police Department, at an annual nationwide competition. The law enforcement hounds won big, including first place for overall department teams, at the United States Police Canine Association’s Certification’s Albany competition last month.

At the USPCA, the nation’s oldest police canine organization, multiple judges measured the canine teams to a hundredth of a point. The certification is considered the toughest to achieve for police canine teams, according to the MTA.

Officers Allison Schmitt, Allen Kirsch and Matthew Fontana represented the department at the certification competition, along with their respective canine compadres: Mac, Century and Lemm.

The officers and their dogs also swept all of the competition categories, which included obedience, agility, evidence search, suspect search and criminal apprehension.

“The MTA PD’s canine unit is a crucial component of our counter-terrorism efforts and keeping the public safe,” said MTA Chief of Police Owen Monaghan in a statement commending the officers.

“24 hours a day, seven days a week, all MTA canine officer teams maintain a watchful presence over the MTA’s entire system, patrolling our stations, platforms, trains and parking lots,” Monaghan added.

The department’s Canine Unit was established in 2002 for counterterrorism purposes and to support the MTA’s security strategy. A dog’s nose allows it a sense of smell 3,000 to 5,000 times stronger than a human’s nose, granting them to detect explosives and follow normally untraceable scent trails, according to the MTA.