Morris County News

Morris County Sheriff's K-9 Unit Comes to St. Patrick School in Chatham for "Genius Hour"

St. Patrick School students meet Morris County Sheriff's K-9 Unit dog, Cinders, on Wednesday Credits: TAP Chatham
Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Officers Jim VanValen and Mike Carbone, who talked to St. Patrick School students on Wednesday Credits: TAP Chatham
K-9 Officer Jim VanValen talks to St. Patrick's students Credits: TAP Chatham
St. Patrick School Principal Dr. Christine Ross and teacher Judy Almgren Credits: TAP Chatham
Officer Jim VanValen gets ready to show off Po's skills during a demonstration at St. Patrick School Credits: TAP Chatham
Officer Mike Carbone shows how he trains K-9 Boomer Credits: TAP Chatham
St. Patrick School students meet K-9 Cinders after the talk given by the Morris County Sheriff's K-9 Unit officers Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - Jim VanValen got a rise out of the St. Patrick School students when he described how his K-9 partner could track down a burglar who came into the school and stole all the homework assignments.

The Morris County Sheriff's K-9 Unit came to St. Patrick School in Chatham on Wednesday morning to give a talk on how the dogs are used to smell for explosives, accelerants, and track down humans on the run, during the school's "Genius Hour."

"The theme of the Genius Hour is how animals help us in everyday life," St. Patrick Principal Dr. Christine Ross said.

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Members of the Morris County K-9 Unit, Mike Carbone and VanValen, explained how the dogs are trained and gave some demonstrations with K-9 members Po, Boomer and Cinders.

The Morris County K-9 Unit has 14 officers and seven dogs who are on call 24 hours, seven days a week. The dogs never leave the officers.

"Not only are they partners at work, they come home with us," Carbone, who currently has four dogs, said. "When they're not working, they do fun activities that other dogs do like hiking and swimming." 

Boomer, a nine-month-old German Shepherd-Lab mix, is a rescue from a shelter and Carbone is training the dog to sniff out explosives.

"It takes a year of training, six hours a day, to teach the dogs," Carbone said.

Sheriff's K-9 officers give a demonstration on how dogs are trained to apprehend suspects

K-9 officer Mike Carbone shows how he trains his 9-month-old dog, Boomer, to sniff for explosives

K-9 Officer Jim VanValen shows how Po obeys commands and plays tug-of-war


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