MANHATTAN – There’s a powerful team patrolling New York City subways and street, checking for bombs and suspicious activity, with a sixth sense for tracking trouble: the NYPD counterterrorism canine team.
PIX11 News was given an exclusive, rare look at the daily lives of these four-legged crime fighters.
Sgt. Randy Brenner and his K-9 partner Shawnie, a 3-year-old German shepherd, scour the subways to help keep 6 million riders safe. How safe would Brenner say they are? “Very safe.”
With all the technology available to officers, believe it or not, nothing beats a nose. Shawnie was able to detect explosive material we planted in a backpack in just seconds.
“If there is something they can find it and we deploy our resources we know it’s there and will evacuate and deploy,” Brenner said.
In a real life situation, Shawnie just saved thousands of lives.
These special canines patrols go on throughout the five boroughs, at high-profile locations and so-called sensitive areas. Every parade, sporting event, or major city event, they're working.
These dogs can even track a subject through crowded city streets and train stations.
And it’s clear the connection between officer and canine is like no other. As a way to never forget our fallen heroes, many of the NYPD canines are named for an officer who was killed in the line of duty.
For example, Shawnie is named after Officer Shawn Mahoney from the 109th precinct. Mahoney was Brenner’s partner for 7 years and recently died from 9/11-related cancer.
“Not a day goes by I don’t think of him,” Brenner said. “He’s on my brain. I'm at work and his spirit lives on through his canine.”