Eight K9 teams have graduated from the Connecticut State Police Canine Training Unit — including one dog that came to national attention as he was raised on the "Today" show.
The ceremony was held last week for the K9 teams in 190th Explosive Detection Class.
The canine teams, five of which are Connecticut State Police, are all trained in explosive detection.
Four of the Connecticut State Police K9 teams are assigned to the Mass Transit Unit and will patrol Metro-North train stations and trains from New Haven to New York.
The fifth state police team will remain at the Canine Training Unit and help with the training of future dogs.
The K9s, all labradors, were donated by Guiding Eyes for the Blind after determining they were not suited for guide work.
Connecticut State Police
- Trooper First Class Steven Bellandese and K9 Jackie, for the Mass Transit Unit
- Trooper First Class Patrick Conway and K9 Guthrie, for the Mass Transit Unit
- Trooper First Class Jonathan Naples and K9 Ezra, for the Canine Training Unit
- Trooper First Class Jeffrey Poach and K9 Wheat, for the Mass Transit Unit
- Trooper First Class Kevin Reed and K9 Wrangler, for the Mass Transit Unit
The other dogs that graduated are:
- For the Mohegan Tribal Police Department: Officer Kevin Creamer and K9 Harley
- For the Methuen, Mass., Police Department: Officer Michael Havey and K9 Rumi
- For the Vermont State Police: Trooper Stephen Digregorio and K9 Jewel
In spring 2016, the "Today" show said goodbye to Wrangler, who was shown frequently on the morning talk show as he grew from a puppy and began training to be a guide dog.
On July 6, Wrangler was evaluated and accepted into the Connecticut State Police detection dog program. Wrangler had just finished yearlong stint as a guide dog.
The "Today" show said, "As it turns out, Wrangler is better suited for detection and retired from guide work early."
Wrangler, like the other doges, has been partnered with an officer and will work to detect things such as bombs or narcotics.
"As a guide dog, Wrangler helped one person live a more independent life. As a detection dog, he will be helping large groups of people, making sure that everyone is safe from criminal activity," the Today show said.
"There is no better feeling than knowing that the work Wrangler has the opportunity to do will help keep thousands of people safe every day."
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