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Man’s Best Friends Get a Job With White Plains Police Department

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White Plains police dogs
Detective Matthew Kittelstad and his K-9, Justice, recently completed a 17-week training program.

Though many people are unable to get a job, two of man’s best friends started work last week.

K-9s Storm and Justice graduated from training and were made officers Friday after completing a 17-week training program along with their handlers, Detective Matthew Kittelstad (K-9 Justice) and Police Officer Brian Johnson (K-9 Storm). These two canines are the first in White Plains history and according to Public Safety Commissioner David Chong it was long overdue.

“Today is a great day for the City of White Plains. Canines are a wonderful asset to modern policing. Canines of today are not like canines of the past. They are very well trained; they will assist us in not only protecting police officers but also the citizens of White Plains in crime prevention but also tracking,” said Chong.

The two canines were donated to the police department. Most notably, Fenway Golf Club donated $15,000 towards the cause. The Fenway Club started its charity fund 11 years ago shortly after September 11 to give back to first responders. Since that time, the members of the club have raised more than $500,000 to give to first responders and hospitals in White Plains and surrounding communities, including Scarsdale. Fred Feldman has been the chairman of the fund for the past seven or eight years.

“We ask them for a wish list, most of the time if we have the funds we will do the request,” said Feldman.

The canines were a priority for the commissioner, who approached Feldman about securing the funds for the two dogs.

“When Commissioner Chong became commissioner, [he] looked at several options and I think because of where he came from in Mt. Vernon [where] they had canines and saw the importance of it and made it a priority when he came here. He came to me and I brought it to the committee and the committee thought it was a very worthwhile idea and we did it,” Feldman explained.

This is not only a first for the City of White Plains but also new to the dog’s handlers. “What first interested me was a new aspect to police work, something White Plains never had before and it was a change of pace, something to take advantage of,” said Officer Johnson.

The two dogs have different specialties. Justice is trained to be the narcotics detective dog, and Storm was trained to be the explosive weapons detective dog.

Their names were picked by Commissioner Chong’s daughter.

By Douglas Geller

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