Canines and their handlers graduate from the New York State Police Canine Handler Basic School

George P. Beach II
Beau Duffy
Director of Public Information 

The New York State Police held a graduation ceremony Friday, August 11, for the 2017 Canine Handler Basic School. The ceremony was held at the New York State Police Academy in Albany.

The 15 graduates include members of the New York State Police.

Interviews with the canine handlers listed below and B-roll of training techniques is available at

The canines and their handlers underwent 20 weeks of training at the New York State Police Canine Training Facility located in Cooperstown, New York. During the training, students and their partners received instruction in basic obedience, agility, handler protection, building searches, explosive or narcotic detection, tracking for fugitives and lost or missing persons, basic veterinary care and land navigation and grid searches.

The current strength of the State Police Canine Unit is 103 teams, including those who graduated today. During the first eight months of 2017, the members of the Division Canine Unit responded to 5,835 calls for service.

Canines that are part of the Division Canine Unit are donated through the generosity of breeders, private individuals, and humane societies.  All canines are put through extensive testing and evaluation prior to assignment in the Canine Basic Handler’s School.  State Police canines are named after members who have died in the line of duty.

The following is a full list of the graduating handlers, their canines and namesakes, and assigned Troop.

Trooper David A. Ziemba, Canine Arnie – Troop A, Trooper Arnold T. Rasmussen
Trooper Jamie M. Gockel, Canine Lock – Troop C, Sergeant John H. Lockhart
Trooper Peter F. Bizjack, Canine Versa – Troop F, Investigator Joseph T. Aversa
Trooper Christopher S. Alberts, Canine Cotter – Troop F, Investigator John F. Cotter
Trooper Thomas E. Lansing Jr., Canine Myer – Troop G, Corporal Harold F. Myers
Trooper Scott M. Usmail, Canine Deejay – Troop H, Trooper Donald R. Fredenburg Jr.
Trooper Lewis E. Godfroy IV, Canine Graydon – Troop K, Trooper William T. Graydon
Trooper Atiba M. Celestine, Canine Raya – Troop NYC, Trooper Raymond J. Chippendale
Trooper Don J. Kim, Canine Wheeler – Troop NYC, Sergeant Harry J. Wheeler
Trooper Joseph C. Leworthy, Canine Kenny – Troop NYC, Trooper Kenneth N. Devitt
Trooper Brady K. Ng, Canine Ria – Troop NYC, Trooper Charles S. Dorrian
Trooper Michael M. Pappas, Canine Del – Troop NYC, Sergeant Jeffry T. Edelson
Trooper James R. Redden, Canine Gleason – Troop NYC, Trooper Lawrence P. Gleason
Trooper Dermont A. Summers, Canine Theo – Troop NYC, Corporal Theophilus Gaines
Trooper Sherron L. Jones, Canine Dillon – Troop T, Trooper Emerson J. Dillon