Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda recently mentioned to his 11-year-old son Dominic that his department would be getting a new female K-9 crime fighter, a black German shepherd being trained in sniffing out crime, especially drug stashes.
“He said to me, ‘You should set up a new Instagram account, so people can follow her and see what she’s doing,’ ” the elder Derenda recalled Monday.
Out of the mouths of babes …
And so the new “officer,” Georgie, will have her own Instagram account, at #BPDK9Georgie, according to police officials.
“The public will be able to follow her through training and through her career,” Derenda said Monday, adding that the first photos probably would be posted soon.
“It’s just another tool to build a relationship with the community,” he explained.
The commissioner made his comments Monday morning after Georgie, an 18-month-old shepherd, was introduced to the public. She becomes the department’s fifth current K-9 dog and the first female in about 20 years.
“We are all here today to announce a new crime fighter has joined the Buffalo Police Department,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said of Georgie, while thanking George H. Hyde Jr., whose foundation funded the purchase, training and vehicle equipment to bring her into the departmental ranks.
“I’m always looking for new ideas to improve the City of Buffalo, and it’s about as simple as that,” explained Hyde, president of the Hyde Foundation. “I’m here to make this a safer place to live.”
Hyde, who contributed about $13,000 for the purchase and training of Georgie, also pledged to fund another K-9 dog next year.
Police officials say that last year, their effective K-9 Unit helped seize 238,000 grams of marijuana and more than $870,000 in cash.
Georgie, working with K-9 Officer Anthony Marshall, already has started her training with the Police Department’s training partner, Niagara Regional Police Service, and she is expected to be on patrol sometime this summer.
She will be a dual-purpose dog, as Lt. Sal Losi of the K-9 Unit explained. So she’ll be used as a patrol dog and as a narcotics specialist trained to track, search buildings and obtain evidence.
City officials also introduced Alicia Swanson, who hand-drew a new coloring book featuring Georgie, to educate children on important safety lessons.
“I kind of like the cartoon-y style of it,” said Alicia, an Erie I BOCES junior studying digital media. “It’s easier for young kids to draw because of the coloring.”