JEFF MONTESANO: Well, welcome to the police K-9 demonstration. It's a pleasure to have you guys with us. I am Sergeant Jeff Montesano. I'm with the Cornell University Police. I'm a former K-9 handler.
I did so for about, oh, six years approximately. What we're going to do today, we're going to talk about a couple of different types of indications that dogs do along with the different jobs that they have as well. Does anybody know what police dogs find as a rule? And I don't want to hear donuts.
Go ahead. What do they find?
AUDIENCE: Oh, drugs.
JEFF MONTESANO: Drugs. What else?
AUDIENCE: Survivors. People.
JEFF MONTESANO: I'm sorry.
JEFF MONTESANO: People. That's right. They also find bombs. And we've got dogs here right now that cover all of that. What we got set up behind me is there's some duffel bags set up that dogs will commonly search for drugs or for explosive devices.
And you'll see the dogs searching nose. And watching their search pad is when they do so. I want to introduce our dogs and their handlers.
Kevin Noterfonzo is wearing the gray. He's a officer with the Cornell Police. He's with canine Reggie. Reggie is a three-year-old black lab who was adopted out of Rudy's Rescue.
Cornell Police tries to adopt all their dogs out of rescues or SPCAs. My dag came out of the Tompkins County SPCA. And but essentially, when you go to the SPCA, they're not bad dogs. They're dogs that need jobs sometimes because they're full of energy. And that's been the instance in both of our dogs.
Officer Noterfonzo and K-9 Reggie are a team, along with Officer Parente and Officer Wright, they are also a team, or K-9 Wright. And I emphasize that. It's not a dog, it's not a one-thing show, it is a team. They cannot operate without each other.
Officer Noterfonzo and K-9 Reggie are both certified in human tracking. And they're also certified in explosive device. K-9 Wright and Officer Parente are certified in narcotics, tracking, and aggression work. Meaning that dog does bite people, if the need is there. When you start seeing bite work and you're hearing bit work, I want to kind of emphasize on some of this. What you see is not what normally happens on the street every day. OK.
It's in case we need it. We do not use this tool every day. We don't set out and we put our uniform on every day to head out and try to bite somebody or hurt somebody. That is not what we do. That's merely tool. It's something that we build on.
Our first presence, whenever we talk to somebody, that's just start. It's our presence. And our use of force goes up from there. This is one of the last things we use. It's just like our guns. We don't want to use those unless we absolutely have to. OK.
So I want everybody to understand they're trained to do it, but we don't necessarily do it all time with them. We're going to start off with a narcotic search first with Officer Parente and K-9 Wright. Again, he's a certified narcotics dog, up to seven odors he's able to detect. We got a couple of odors set out for us right now that we're going to watch the dog and its handler try to find.
Officer Parente will chime in. And any time when I've missed something, he's going to chime in and try to help educate you folks even more. K-9 Wright is an aggressive detection dog. Does anybody know what that means? OK.
When they find their source, their odor, they usually scratch at it. Some dogs will bite, dig, bark, tear something up. And that's what this dog is. This is an aggressive alert dog. All right. Or when you see the bomb dog come out for the obvious reasons, I don't want a dog digging at a bomb. OK. So when we train them, we trained him to be passive. So that means he's going to sit when he finds something. OK. So why don't we go ahead and get started?
OFFICER PARENTE: Folks, what I got is a rolled up towel. OK. It's like a white towel. You're going to see it in a minute. It's rolled up. And it's got the scent of narcotics on it. OK. That's the dog's reward for finding drugs or narcotics. All right. He isn't necessarily looking for a drug, a bag of drugs, or a pipe or anything like that, he's searching for the odor.
So if it was a piece of clothing that had an odor on it, he would detect on that. OK. So just because he's indicating at something, doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be there, it could be an odor of that. OK. But here we have stuff actually out so you're going to see what he does. So there's times where I can work on-lead to do a sniff of an area or an off-lead, depending on the circumstances.
For this circumstance, I'm just going to do him off-lead. He's going to basically start sniffing area. You're going to see him. You always see his head whip or you might see him go to an area, it's because he smells it. If you guys are watching him, you might see him kind of like standing up kind of sniffing the air, he already smells the order.
He's already done this once today. So he already knows what's going on so. All right. But I'll show you guys quickly what we're going to do here, OK.
JEFF MONTESANO: There are so many hours that this team puts into to learning how to make the dogs scent detection dogs. I bet he's got at least 1,000 hours logged right now in just training. These officers train every Tuesday of every month for eight hours a day to keep their certifications up. OK. What did I talk about earlier that we're going to see if he found something? That's an aggressive alert.
The dog's digging. He's looking for something.
JEFF MONTESANO: Inside there's going to be what Officer Parente talked about earlier. There's a rolled up towel. That's his reward.
OFFICER PARENTE: If I can get the zipper open, I'll show you here.
JEFF MONTESANO: Probably if he let's them go long enough, the dog will open it himself. But we do got a couple more demos we need to do today, so I guess we better try to save that bag.
OFFICER PARENTE: Good boy. That's a good boy. What you got? What's you got?
JEFF MONTESANO: Yeah, go ahead. Give him a hand. Again, when we train these dogs, it's just repetition, repetition, repetition. And then we finally end up getting a good product out of this. And what he's doing right now is he's giving them his paycheck. Kids up there, what do you expect after you get done with your allowance or doing your chores, you expect your allowance, correct?
Well, the dog just worked. And he wants a little playtime now. And that's what it's all about. That dog's looking forward to that reward in the end. Now, sometimes these dogs don't like to give up their reward either, which is good. So Officer Parente is going to have to coax him out of giving that up.
JEFF MONTESANO: You hear him talk to his dog in a different language. The dog's from Hungary. He's an imported dog. He's been very successful for the Cortland County Sheriff's Department.
OFFICER PARENTE: This one, that's cocaine. The odor of cocaine was in this towel here.
JEFF MONTESANO: Right now we're using two odors. So that one's cocaine. It's a pretty common drug on the streets. And there's also another out up here with marijuana in it. Again, another pretty common drug in this area.
OFFICER PARENTE: So what I'll do is I'll let him work by himself. If I see he's not going to a particular area, I'll detail him what they call. Is I'll move him. See what he's doing?
JEFF MONTESANO: What do you think? Something there?
OFFICER PARENTE: Looks like something's there, guys. What did you find? What did you find?
JEFF MONTESANO: Best way to describe a dog is you watch him work in that area. They call it a scent cone. OK. It's nothing more than a V, if you will. And that dog's coming from a really wide-- go ahead. It's all right.
OFFICER PARENTE: Good boy.
JEFF MONTESANO: He started really wide and slowly coming down that scent cone and getting to the source. OK. All dogs are working the same way. I don't care if you're seeing a tracking dog or a different type of scent dog. When the bomb dogs, they're using the same exact pattern.
OFFICER PARENTE: Oh, he's got them both now.
JEFF MONTESANO: Yeah. Yeah. Now he's going to have to chase him around the arena to get his toys back. You can see how much fun it is. I mean, you've got total dedication by these guys. You really do.
These dogs come home with us. They live with us. They're part of our family. Like I said, I handled one for seven years. And it was probably one of my saddest days when I didn't handle a dog anymore. I've had a lot of good times in my career with that animal. And we built a huge bond amongst one another.
And they're almost kind of like a husband and wife or a brother and sister when you watch them kind of bicker back and forth a little bit sometimes. But they're a lot of fun. What we're going to do next is we're going to do the explosives.
You ask why. I always get the question, is there that many bombs at Cornell University. The answer to that is no. However, we do not want them here either. It's a huge deterrent. If we have to shut down a building for a particular bomb threat, it's thousands of dollars in revenue that the university loses at that time.
Right now with our training and our experience, we're able to go into some of these buildings and defuse a situation rather quickly. We do a lot of dignitary stuff. If anybody was around here a while back, we had the Dalai Lama come and visit Cornell, where we used to have to have another agency come in and do that. Cornell's quite self-sufficient.
So by us having dogs, and we'll call other dogs in from other agencies, we're able to be in control of that. We know the buildings the best. And we're able to provide that type of security to the university.
We do go outside of the university. I've been to the airport several times. Officer Noterfonzo's been out throughout the county several times. So we try to really be quite good neighbors with the other counties and surrounding counties around us. You're going to see a little different reward situation here with this dog.
This one has a tennis ball that he uses. And what it is is there's no rhyme or reason to what these dogs get for a reward. It's whatever they like the best. It's their toy. That's what makes them the most excited. Like, so this one uses a tennis ball. I'm going to let Officer Noterfonzo go ahead and work K-9 Reggie.
He's pretty happy go lucky. He's-- ooh. What do you think? You think we say something there, huh? Go ahead. Go ahead. You're not going to bother them. They're used to all kinds of noises. And we appreciate it also.
There he is. He's got his toy. He's just he's happy as can be. Again, another animal that we work off leash. It's all in training. You'll see some handlers, they got their dog tied right to them and they're going with them all the time.
Through our training and what we're seeing is it's easier to just let the dog-- if the dog's able to-- just run off a leash and run around and try to find the device.
AUDIENCE: What is he smelling when he smells a bomb?
JEFF MONTESANO: He's smelling a nitrate is what he's after. That's pretty much a common ingredient in most explosives. That dog's able to find up to 18 odors right now. Saber was the same way. But that's a great question. And that is the common odor in them.
I'm definitely oversimplify that. There's much more to that. But that's what we're finding to be the common source.
When you watched that dog work. And he was kind of going this way. And I think you might, if you heard me or not, I said whoa, what was that? Well, that was what you call a head whip. He's heading this way and, boom, came right back. What he find? Scent cone, remember talked about it earlier.
I don't know what's going on inside this building with air. That's the other thing. We got to kind of become investigators when we enter a building. Sometimes a dog might sit here, but the device could be here. Just depends on the air current in this building. Right now, I guarantee it's doing this in this building.
These dogs are getting their workout today. That was what they call a classic head whip, really is what that was. What we're going to get into next is we're into a little bit of aggression work. So we're letting Officer Noterfonzo will take care of K-9 Reggie. And then we'll get into that.
OFFICER PARENTE: What you guys are going to see is called aggression control. We use it for its a use of force that we have available to us as a K-9 handler, just like using pepper spray or a gun or whatever else we have for a tool. We're able to use him for certain deployments.
You're going to Officer Noterfonzo come out. He's going to have a bite sleeve with him, which goes over his arm. It's to protect his arm from being bit. You'll see that. But there's also other things we use called a bite suit, it's like a suit top.
Or a hidden sleeve, which goes underneath a sweatshirt or any type of clothing so it hides it from the dog. You don't want your dog to get used to equipment. You want him to be able to bite if it's necessary. Say you had somebody that had no shirt on and they committed a crime, where you're able to send a dog, you want to make sure your dog is going to bite.
And a lot of people just use a sleeve and they don't train properly. And it causes hardship if they need a dog. So we try to avoid it.
I'm using it today all day. But normally, I wouldn't use it just so you guys are aware of that. I haven't used a dog for any bite work at this point, any aggression work. I've used them to disperse crowds, large crowds, where there was fights, stuff of that nature. But never any actual bites.
What you're going to see is basically just a demonstration. It's not really how it would turn out. If the dog got a hold of a body part, it wouldn't be so good. So we try to only use it when we absolutely have to. What I'm going to show you first is what we call civil. He's going to all of a sudden spark the dog's interest by being aggressive towards him.
The dog's going to stand up. And he's going to alert. He's going to bark. He's going to whine. He's going to try to go after that person.
I just want to show you that because you don't want to have the sleeve and be fixed on the sleeve or his equipment. You want to be able to know that he'll bite or he'll engage somebody who is not wearing equipment. So just so you guys see that.
After that, he's going to grab it up. And then we're going to send a dog on a bite. And we'll go through a sequence of stuff so you guys can kind of see what he does. All right. This is kind of brief. There's a lot to it. There's a lot we do. And this is just a quick synopsis.
Good boy. Good boy. That's a good boy. Good boy. Bad man stop fighting the dog. Right.
JEFF MONTESANO: Handler.
OFFICER PARENTE: Next, I'm going to do what we call a handler protection. Basically, the dog's certified to protect me if I need him. I have a door popper on my belt. I can deploy the dog out of the car if I need to. Also if I'm interviewing somebody and I need a dog, I can pop him out of the car. Or if the dog's already out and I'm showing you the scenario here where I'm patting this subject down, if he pushes against me or tries to fight with me, the dog will engage him. OK. It's just what we train to you. He did this before, so he's ready to go.
Get your hands up in the air. You're under arrest. Put your hands up. You want to put your hands up.
Turn around. Let me see if you have any weapons. Do you have any weapons on you? Spin around for me. Keep your hands up. Stay right there.
Good boy. Good boy.
JEFF MONTESANO: You can see why it's a useful tool out in the field.
OFFICER PARENTE: Good boy.
JEFF MONTESANO: You know, I can't stress enough when we'd use that dog. It's probably going to be in a really bad situation, a felony type situation probably.
JEFF MONTESANO: What, you get a little dirty? I'm going to get out of the way.
OFFICER PARENTE: All right. Next one we're going to do is just what we call a rundown basically. I'm going to give my command. Tommy's under arrest. He's not going to listen to me. He's not going to comply.
He did something erroneous. And I can send a dog. So I want to show something in how we'll engage that person just by a command. Simple as that. Go ahead and start walking away.
Stop now, you're under arrest or we'll send a dog.
Stop now. I'll send a dog. You're under arrest. Good boy. Good foggy. Good boy.
JEFF MONTESANO: That's a heck of a hit when that happens. Usually end up with those sleeves, they are quite nice. Some of the older ones we used to have, you could actually get bite marks in your arm when you're doing it.
OFFICER PARENTE: He's taking him for a ride. Come here. That's a good boy. That's a good boy.
JEFF MONTESANO: Then they'll make friends. And they'll be able to pet each other and all that. I always tend to get a little nervous when I'm nearing one of these and that's going on. I don't want him to get his mind changed and come after me.
Never had it happen yet. But somehow in the back of my mind, it's always there. Does anybody have any questions for us right off the get go? Go ahead, ma'am.
AUDIENCE: I'm just wondering about your family. How do you train the dog not to do something to your family if they push you?
JEFF MONTESANO: The question is, training your family. If somebody in your family pushed you. And the dog, how do you train them to not do that?
OFFICER PARENTE: Basically, when I first got the dog-- I've had him for three years now just about-- and I first got him to the house and acquainted my wife. I told her, don't be real affectionate around me just because I don't want the dog to feel like he had to protect me. But as time goes by, he got accustomed to her and things changed.
He listens to her if I'm not there. But if I am there, he basically looks at me first to see if he's supposed to do that. But it's not a problem with the family at all. So at first, I had to be cautious with that just to see. But now it's all good.
JEFF MONTESANO: Yeah. And the dogs know. They know when there's trouble. They sense fear. That's one of the things they work off of as well. Go ahead, sir.
AUDIENCE: Is there a specific breed you look for for the bomb sniffing dogs?
JEFF MONTESANO: We definitely want to look for something fairly kind of calm. I say that a little tongue in cheek. You want a high aggression dog that's going to perform for you that has a lot of productivity. But personally, Cornell prefers the lab just because of our environment. I think it goes off a little better.
But I've seen German shepherds be bomb dogs. I've seen [INAUDIBLE] be bomb dogs. And I've also seen rottweilers. So not really. I mean, we picked the lab because of what it is. It's a family pet. And we're much more comfortable sending that home with Officer Noterfonzo and his family. Go ahead.
AUDIENCE: How many dogs do you have?
JEFF MONTESANO: Right now we only have one. Funding has been tight since we've gotten the one. I'd love to get another one. I'd like to move towards either another bomb dog or a drug dog. It's been very good to us.
I definitely welcome another one. It's just freeing up the money to do so because we do have take home cars. And it gets expensive. A couple other things I think it's worth mentioning, Officer Parente was a bit humble about it earlier. But we do got some success stories out there. And I'm probably going let him talk to this a little bit.
But just another county, in Broome County, Binghamton PD, they have a tracking dog, which both these dogs can do, and have been successful in the past month apprehending two criminals. And I'm going to let Officer Parente. He's had some recently too.
OFFICER PARENTE: This dog's certified in several different areas. One of them is tracking. We've had a couple things recently that have been successful. It takes a little while to get acquainted with a dog, to be able to read a dog, and to be successful. Because there's so many different things that can hamper a situation. If somebody contaminates the area, doesn't tell you sometimes, or whatever reason, there's reasons, million of them, that makes it hard.
But recently, we've had a lot of successive lately. I've had three successful tracks in the past few months, where I've apprehend people from up to a mile to three miles tracks through rural areas, through urban areas, through rivers, all sorts of different things. Same with the drug stuff. The two things I do most of are narcotics and tracking.
Recently, I've got a large amount of heroin. We've got, in the past, we got large amounts of marijuana. We've gotten cocaine. And all because of the dog.
The dog helps us find these things and take care of what we need to do and take the stuff off the streets so it doesn't reach where it's not supposed to go. So, yeah, we've been successful. And so has a lot of other people. So it's nice to see it pay off.
JEFF MONTESANO: Huge impact on the community. It really is. I feel sorry. I'd like to ask Officer Noterfonzo some of his success stories. But his successes, we don't have any bombs. To not take any of his thunder away, but we get called out to a lot of surrounding counties. And we're constantly going out to the airport, making sure there's no problems out there if they get a suspicious package, along with, like I say, sometimes Cortland County and Broome County and sometimes Tioga County. We do get called to them and help them out.
Do you got anything, Kevin, that I'm missing? Being a bomb handler, you don't get a whole lot of action. But boy, when it does happen and you get that threat, it kicks in. You better know what you're doing because a lot of lives are relying on it. That's when Kevin and I put our heads together. And we attack these things together. And we need to be sharp and stay sharp with our training skills. Does anybody else have any last minute questions? Ma'am.
AUDIENCE: Yeah. He's good for tracking. What about search and rescue?
JEFF MONTESANO: Officer Noterfonzo's dog does not bite at the end. So, yes, you could use him in a search and rescue type situation. Some dogs, we do have a couple dogs that are into human remains. None of these dogs do that in our association. We belong to the Southern Tier Police K-9 Association, where we do a majority of our training. And some of those dogs are able to do that. Anyone else? Well, you guys have been a great crowd. And I greatly appreciate your patience with us. Enjoy the day at the vet school open house. Thank you.
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Sergeant Jeff Montesano, along with Cornell's newest K-9 team, Reggie and his handler Officer Kevin Noterfonzo, give a demonstration of police dog behaviors and the jobs that they do, including narcotics search, explosive detection, aggression control and human tracking.
The event was part of the College of Veterinary Medicine's annual open house.