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19 sniffer dogs named for fallen heroes feted at MTA graduation ceremonies

A Metropolitan Transit Police  officer and dog stand guard inside Penn Station  on NYC.
A Metropolitan Transit Police officer and dog stand guard inside Penn Station on NYC.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

19 German shepherds and their handlers from the NYPD, MTA police department and sister agencies, were honored at Grand Central Station in Manhattan yesterday. The dogs represented the largest class of bomb-sniffing, anti-terrorist canines to complete an extensive 12-week protection training program, and will be assigned to patrol the Long Island Railroad, Metro- North and subways throughout the metropolitan area.

In addition, each of the canines were named for falled human heroes, including FDNY Safety Battalian Chief Lawrence T. Stack, 58, who was killed when the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11; and NYPD officer James McNaughton, who was killed in 2005 by sniper fire while training Iraqi police. Many of the families of these men were present at the ceremony, and several expressed how deeply touched they were to have their own lost loved ones honored in such a poignant way.

“Jimmy was a good young man, plain and simple,” noted his father, Bill McNaughton, himself a retired canine handler with the NYPD. “Having a bomb-sniffing dog named for my son keeps his name out there and when people ask how he got his name, his handler will tell Jimmy’s story.”

Each dog received a badge with a collar, and full color honors at their graduation ceremony.