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Fallen troopers honored as canine recruits graduate

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Albany/HV: Fallen troopers honored as canine recruits graduate
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On the same day State Police are mourning the loss of one of their own, they are also welcoming in more than a dozen canine recruits and in doing so, honoring other officers who died in the line of duty. Innae Park has more.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- One by one, 13 canines and their handlers crossed the New York State Police Academy stage. Each celebrating the end to months of training. Each also paying homage to a fallen officer.

"All our dogs are named after troopers killed in the line of duty," said Acting Tech Sgt. Jason Brewer, New York State Police Canine Coordinator.

"It's meaningful to me and not only to the families, but the rest of the divisions of the New York State Police," said New York State Trooper Joshua Taylor.

However, they're once again forced to reflect on tragedy.

The death of Trooper David Cunniff in the line of duty earlier that day became an even stronger reminder that the bond between canine and handler is a special one.

"They need each other. Dog needs you, you need dog. Perfect team," said Brewer.

Sgt. Maureen McGuire-Honikel was an investigator with the Albany County Sheriff's Office. Cancer took her life two years ago. Tuesday, her family was able to rejoice at her memory being brought to life in "Mo," one of the graduates.

"She loved dogs and she loved her job," said Sheila McGuire, the mother of a former Albany County Sheriff's Investigator. "He's a beautiful dog and I know he'll do his job like she did."

Through these pairs, the fallen are not forgotten.

A moment of silence was held at the beginning of the graduation in honor of Trooper Cunniff.

In all, eight canines and their handlers graduated within the New York State Police. Five other outside agencies also celebrated their canine-handler pairs' graduations.

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