NYCDOC K9 team takes home bronze medal at national competition

CO Lawrence McArdle and K9 Zoey, who detects contraband on Rikers Island, placed third in explosives detection

By Joseph Ostapiuk
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A pair of New York City K9 teams placed third overall in separate events at the National K9 Detection Dog Challenge Competition that brought top law enforcement teams from across the country to compete.

The first-of-its-kind competition was held at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, and aired on ESPN2 on Sunday. Ten narcotics dog teams and 10  explosives detection dog teams took part in the competition that required the participants to quickly navigate obstacles and find substances.

A New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) officer and K9 duo placed third overall in the narcotics competition while the NYPD team placed third in explosives detection.

CO Lawrence McArdle and K9 Zoey
CO Lawrence McArdle and K9 Zoey (NYCDOC)

Correction Officer Lawrence McArdle and K9 Zoey, who detects contraband on Rikers Island, served as the DOC's team.

"Zoey is a German short-haired pointer, known for their exquisite hunting skills. They are bred to be instinctive high-drive hunting dogs for all types of quarry including rabbits, raccoons, game, birds, deer, and more," said McArdle. "We used that naturally given hunting skill and trained Zoey to be an amazing narcotics hunter. We had such a great time and, as always, we're proud to represent the NYC Department of Correction."

Teams were scored on the accuracy of their search, the perfection of their alert and the find itself. McArdle and Zoey located narcotics hidden in luggage in a setting akin to an airport before later finding contraband in two separate vehicles — netting them a score of 196.34 out of 200, the DOC said.

McArdle recently helped to capture an individual on Rikers Island who escaped a housing facility during the summer of last year, earning him a Meritorious Duty Medal. McArdle and Zoey previously won a citation award at the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Region 7 Detection Trials.

"Our department sends a round of applause to everyone who competed," said DOC Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi. "We're honored to have been selected to participate and we're extremely proud of Zoey and Officer McArdle. They and all of our K9 teams are invaluable to the safety and security of our jail system, where they work hard every single day."

Meanwhile, NYPD Officer Kaitlyn Schamberger and her partner, K9 Zada, competed for the NYPD in the explosives detection challenge.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea commended the work of the dynamic duo, writing, “CONGRATULATIONS to @NYPDTransit Officer Schamberger & her partner, K9 Zada for placing 3rd in the @akcdoglovers & #USPCAk9 K9 Detection Dog Challenge.

“They’re everyday job is putting those incredible skills to good use — sniffing out threats & keeping NYers safe!” added Shea.

“The AKC is proud to profile the great service that our K9 officers provide to our nation to help keep us safe,” said Chris Sweetwood, board director for the American Kennel Club, which co-sponsored the event with the USPCA. “As the event chairman for the Challenge, this was a labor of love for our four-footed first responders and their human partners. We are proud to recognize their professionalism.” 

(c)2021 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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