Police & Fire

Yorktown Police Department Revives K-9 Unit

Ditto (name subject to change) is a 2-year-old black Lab, who is being trained in Moore County, N.C. Credits: Facebook/Yorktown Police Department

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - It’s said that the key to a healthy work/life balance is to leave work at the door before heading home. Yorktown Police Department’s Officer Thomas Beyrer will no longer have that luxury, and he couldn’t be happier about it.

Thanks to donations from the Yorktown Citizens Task Force Against Heroin and other community members, the Yorktown native will be joined by a new partner on the force: Ditto, a 2-year-old black Lab fresh out of K-9 training.

After four years with the department, Beyrer is excited for both the career move, and the new addition to his family. As Ditto’s handler (her name is subject to change), she will be his partner for life.

Sign Up for E-News

“I’m excited,” Beyrer said. “I’m just looking forward the new opportunity and overall I’m excited about what the town has been doing to get narcotics off the street.”

It took close to a year for the task force and the department to ensure funds were secured, vet potential partners for Ditto, and to search for a training facility and K-9, said Tom Diana, town councilman and chair of the task force.

A retired police officer himself, Diana had the idea to invest in a K-9 for the department after a successful fundraiser last June. Having worked with two K-9s during his police career, he said, he knew the addition would be beneficial to Yorktown’s department and its ongoing effort to stop narcotics traffic in the area.

“It was a very great time in my career and I’m happy that we’re able to reinstate it in the town of Yorktown,” he said. “I think if we can stop these drugs on the street before they get to anybody, it’s a home run.”

He hopes the presence of the K-9 unit in Yorktown will assist the department and deter dealers.

“Our mission statement is education, enforcement and elimination,” Diana said on behalf of the task force. “This is the enforcement part.”

Police Chief Robert Noble said one of his goals was to bring back the K-9 unit, which was discontinued about three years ago. With support from the task force as well as other community members, Noble said, the unit’s revival—which comes with a roughly  $13,000 price tag—would not have been possible. He called Diana “the driving force” behind the plan.

They both said community organizations and members have rallied behind the cause. Everything from a year’s supply of dog food from Dominic Sansotta, to a retired SUV from the Mohegan Volunteer Fire Association, has been supplied at no cost to the police department. Additionally, Perry Gusikoff, owner of Yorktown Auto Body, offered to assist in whatever work the vehicle may need; Douglas Ofner offered to help outfit the vehicle with the necessary supplies; and Yorktown Chamber of Commerce President Eric DiBartolo donated a bullet-proof vest for Ditto’s uniform, Diana said.

“It truly is a community effort and something I’m proud of,” Noble said.

Noble said he hopes the K-9 unit will be a positive contribution to the community. By the end of her training, Ditto's sensitive nose will be able to detect hidden narcotics such as crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

“No suburb is immune to it; our communities are on the frontline,” he said. “The Hudson Valley has been determined to be a high-intensity drug trafficking area, so with that in mind, this is just another way we get to be proactive and aggressive in finding drugs in our community.”

Beyrer will join Ditto next month at K-2 Services, a threat mitigation and canine services facility in Moore County, N.C., for a four-week training period. Noble said he anticipates the duo will be ready to start working together by Sept. 1. The announcement was made at a press conference the morning of June 20.

While enforcement is certainly a focus of the town’s efforts to get a leg up on the drug crisis, Supervisor Michael Grace and town justices Sal Lagonia and Gary Raniolo announced another upcoming initiative that addresses a different layer of the drug crisis through a misdemeanor drug court program for the town of Yorktown.

The town-specific initiative would be modeled similarly to Putnam County’s Drug Court program, which was established in 2002 as an alternate to incarceration for non-violent drug and alcohol offenders.

The court, probation department, sheriff’s department and social service and treatment professionals work in conjunction with the intent to actively intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse. Participants typically complete the program in two years.

“Were trying to keep Yorktown safe for everybody,” stressed Grace. “[It’s] not just enforcement, it’s compassion.”

Lagonia predicts the drug court will be up and running by this fall.

He added that the court is looking forward to the addition of the K-9 unit to the town’s “arsenal” and believes it will add another layer of credibility to help the courts “get to the truth of every case.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Remembering Bobby Kennedy

I’m not the type of person who is prone to hero worship. Witnessing people screaming hysterically during rock concerts never sat well with me. Yes, I did see many a great group (the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, the Who, the Doors), yet my demeanor was always one reflecting inner peace rather than extreme exuberance.

I was offered tickets to Woodstock (yes, originally you needed ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Andy’s at It Again

June 13, 2018

A couple of years ago, I wrote to question why Andy wasn’t citing his sources when he flings dirt at any Democrat he wants to malign.

Well, he’s at it again. In the latest iteration, he tells us that Obama was responsible for putting a spy in the Trump campaign. He then repeats himself three more times to emphasize his point, but gives no proof or evidence to back up the ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20

Yorktown Heights Fire Station 1, Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Heights Fireman's Carnival

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Other Police & Fire


Thu, June 21

Navajo Field, Yorktown Heights

2018 Kickball Registration is Open! Meet, Greet ...


Thu, June 21, 7:00 PM

NY-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, Cortlandt Manor

Book Club for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Yorktown Youth Soccer Club Results

June 15, 2018

Sunday, June 10  - The Yorktown Crew clinched the Westchester Youth Soccer League JV-1 Division with a 4-3 win over Rivertown FC on Sunday. The team has been on a remarkable run for the past 2 seasons with a team record of 16-1-1. Sunday’s matchup vs Rivertown had a championship like atmosphere as Rivertown trailed Yorktown by 1 point in the standings. The Crew worked hard all week in ...