GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Glens Falls Police Department welcomed a new officer on Wednesday – one with four legs. The city’s newest canine officer was named in honor of a human one, who the city lost in 2017.
In a ceremony at Cool Insuring Arena, Glens Falls City Police Chief Jarred Smith introduced Rye, a 6-month-old German Shepherd loosely named after Officer Brian Lashway, who was diagnosed with cancer after seven years of work with the department, from 2005 to 2012.
“I worked with Brian Lashway for many long years, many long nights,” Smith said. “He loved doing his job, and he came to work every day and served our community well.”
Also at the presentation were members of Lashway’s surviving family, including his wife, Gladys; daughter, Tessa; and stepson, Cameron Thompson. For the family left behind, now five years after Lashway’s passing, the newly-inducted canine was a fitting way to honor a man who resides in their memories every day.
“It’s very special. Heartwarming,” said Gladys Lashway. “I’m very grateful that he’s still part of the department after all these years.”
Rye was sworn in, and a certificate with his paw print was presented to the family. A photo of Brian Lashway is in the corner of the certificate frame.
Rye will be the only canine currently being used by the city, but he’s not quite ready yet. At just 6 months old, he’s still in training. Standing with him on Wednesday was officer Kirsten Lunder, who is currently working with him on basic obedience and activities to prepare him for narcotics and missing person searches. Those narcotics and tracking skills will be kicked up a notch in the spring, when he heads to training school.
Once he’s all trained up, Rye will be used with the department on drug searches, as well as missing persons cases. He was found for Glens Falls by master instructors in neighboring counties, through a Sullivan County trainer that Glens Falls has worked with before. Lunder says he was a great find.
“One of the biggest things for us was his personality,” Lunder said. “We want a dog that can be out in the community, in the schools, visiting with people. He is a happy dog, very easygoing, and as you can see, he’s not easily fazed.”
Rye played intently with a ball on a rope as Lunder talked about what it meant for her to work with a dog named in honor of a GFPD officer.
“It is truly an honor to have been able to do that, and to try and uphold the legacy that Brian left behind here.” she said. “I’m going to work very hard to continue his contribution to the city here.”