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City of Buffalo Press Releases

Posted on: June 22, 2018

It’s K9 Graduation Day! BPD Graduates 3 New Teams of Police Officers and Canines

K-9 Graduation

Buffalo – Three new canine (K9) teams in the Buffalo Police Department got their diplomas today. After months of intense training, Officer Jared Domaracki and his dog, Lehner, Officer Matthew Richards and his dog, Shield, and Officer Stephen Mikac and his dog, Hydro, were congratulated by Mayor Byron W. Brown and Buffalo Police Brass during a special K9 graduation ceremony that also paid homage to the legacies of both Lt. Craig E. Lehner and Officer James Shields.

“These newly-inducted partners will help further protect the people of the city of Buffalo, patrolling high profile locations throughout the city,” said Mayor Brown. “And, each time that Officer Domaracki or Officer Richards is asked about Lehner or Shield, they have a chance to tell a story of sacrifice, courage and service”.

  • Officer Domaracki and Lehner honor the memory of Lt. Craig E. Lehner, a nine-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Force, a full-time Buffalo Police K-9 Officer and a member of the Buffalo Police Underwater Rescue Team, who served in the Army National Guard. He was laid to rest last fall after a tragic dive training exercise in the Niagara River. Lehner was purchased earlier this year with funds raised by the Buffalo community.
  • Officer Richards and Shield honor the memories of both Lt. Lehner and Officer James Shields. Shield was Lt. Lehner’s partner. He was named for Officer Shields who was killed in the line of duty in October 2002.
  • Officer Mikac and Hydro pay tribute to Officer James Duffy, who retired in December 2017. Hydro was the second dog donated to BPD from George H. Hyde, Jr., President of the Hyde Foundation.

The K9 graduation ceremony kicked off with a Call to Order, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, led by the children of Officers Mikac and Richards. A heartfelt moment came when K9 Officer John Kujawa presented Lt. Lehner’s mother, Kathy Lehner and Family, with a framed shadow box that contained the collar Lt. Lehner had purchased for Shield.

The Buffalo Police Department K-9 Unit is now made up of seven handlers and seven dogs: Caesar, Destro, Georgie, Hydro, Lehner, Shield, and Thor. All of the dogs are trained to track, search buildings, apprehend suspects, and protect their human partners.

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