MERIDEN – A new graduating class for members of the state’s furry finest means bad news for the bad guys.
That’s because a total of 10 canine teams made up the 227th Narcotics and Firearms Detection K-9 Class, which graduated Friday at a ceremony at the Connecticut State Police K-9 Training Unit.
Nine K-9 Teams were specially trained to detect and alert their handlers to the presence of narcotics and one K-9 Team was specially trained to detect and alert their handler to the presence of firearms.
The teams will begin assisting police in combating the narcotics and opiate crisis, as well as firearms violence in Connecticut communities.
The graduation ceremony included active K9 displays and demonstrations.
Graduating Narcotic Detection K9 Teams are capable of searching for and locating illicit narcotics concealed upon or within buildings, passenger and commercial motor vehicles, mass transit vehicles, luggage, parcels, lockers, open areas and persons.
Meanwhile, firearms detection training and certification standards were researched, developed and instituted by the Connecticut State Police K9 Training Unit in 2019 and were subsequently adopted by the New England State Police Administrator’s Conference (NESPAC) as the standard for all Firearm Detection K-9s trained and certified by every New England State Police Department.
The training developed is unique and has proven effective in both training and criminal investigative deployments, according to a release by state police.
The Firearm Detection K9 Teams are capable of searching for and locating firearms and shell casings in open outdoor areas such as shooting / crime scenes, structures / buildings, passenger and commercial vehicles, mass transit vehicles and venues, within luggage, parcels or packages, school lockers and concealed on people.
The K9 Teams can even identify and alert their handler to a specific person armed with a concealed firearm in a crowded venue such as an airport, train station, school, mall or sports stadium.
These specialized canine teams spent six weeks being trained by state police K-9 instructors. The following teams graduated Friday:
• Det. Joseph Miller, K9 General, CT State Police Narcotics Unit.
• TFC David Misenti, K9 Una, CT State Police Troop H in Hartford
• Officer Zachary Kashmanian, K9 Hawk, Hartford Police Department.
• Officer Eric Williams, K9 Skye, Old Saybrook Police Department.
• Officer Vincent Lariccia, K9 Jets, Bridgeport Police Department.
• Officer Susan Flannery, K9 Durango, Meriden Police Department.
• Correction Officer John Bennett, K9 Oakley, Department of Correction.
• Officer Gary Bourgoin, K9 Gigi, University of Connecticut Police Department.
• Officer Brandon Butler, K9 Hanny, West Haven Police Department.
• Officer Stephen Fazzino, K9 Gage, Montville Police Department.