NEW HAVEN >> The Police Department’s latest member is 3 years old, weighs 98 pounds and doesn’t speak a word.
His name is Gunny.
The German shepherd is the New Haven Police Department’s newest dog, joining five other patrol canines in the department, according to a release from New Haven police. Gunny will be partnered with patrol Officer Sean Sullivan, who has been with the department for nine years.
Sullivan said in the release that he’s eager to work with his new partner.
“When we first met, I remember thinking, Wow! He’s a big dog,’” Sullivan said in the release. “After a great deal of training, I’m confident in his abilities. After bonding for some time, it became clear to me, he’ll be an asset to the city and the Police Department.”
Gunny is Sullivan’s first assignment as a canine handler. The two trained for 10 weeks, which the release said is “the standard time to become acclimated and proficient for both officers and their four-legged partners.”
Like the five other patrol canines, Gunny has been trained in tracking missing people and suspects, evidence identification and recovery, searches of properties and vehicle and drug evidence detection, and suspect apprehension. The release said Gunny is “an important tool in policing.”
The department also has two Labrador retrievers assigned to the department’s bomb squad and trained to detect explosives and hazardous materials.
Two New Haven police canines and their handlers this year received the Connecticut Police Work Dog association’s Wasson Memorial Award for exemplary performance, according to the release.
Gunny was obtained by the department through a combined federal Justice Department Assistant Grant for $9,500 and $2,500 from the National Police Dog Foundation.
It costs about $12,000 to obtain and train a police dog.
Gunny is filling a spot vacated by Xander, who retired from the department last year. The department initially submitted a resolution to the city’s Board of Alders last year to apply for the National Police Dog Foundation grant.
Sullivan and Gunny are assigned to the evening shift in the Fair Haven neighborhood. Though as a specialized team, the release said they will be called upon for city-wide response.