With honors

K-9 named after fallen state trooper

The New York State Police has introduced its newest four-legged member.

K-9 Kara is scheduled to begin training in early January in Cooperstown with handler Jason Cresanti of the State Police barracks in Jamestown. The 18-month-old Dutch Shepherd is named in memory of Trooper Gary Kubasiak, who was killed in the line of duty Aug. 30, 1982, after responding to a domestic incident in Cattaraugus County.

Cresanti picked Kara up from JFK International Airport in New York City about three weeks ago after the dog was flown in from Holland. Before formal training, the pair has been getting to know each other in addition to teaching basic obedience.

Dutch Shepherds are known for their versatility and are becoming a common option for police departments.

“They are very high-drive,” Cresanti said. “They are work driven and they seem to be more social and more apt for our line of work. They are bred for this — this is exactly what they’re made to do, and they’re very proficient at it.”

Photo by Eric Tichy Trooper Jason Cresanti of the New York State Police barracks in Jamestown is pictured with his newest partner, K-9 Kara. The Dutch Shepherd is named after Trooper Gary Kubasiak, who was killed in the line of duty in August 1982.

This is the first purebred Dutch Shepherd that Cresanti said he has worked with in his career.

“She’s an athlete,” he said. “She’s like having an Olympian as a partner.”

Kara is the third K-9 that Cresanti has had named after Kubasiak. His first partner was named K-9 Garro, while his current is named K-9 Kubi. With Kubi reaching retirement, the decision was made to start training a new dog.

Cresanti said he reached out to the Kubasiak family to receive their blessing in continuing with the tradition of naming the K-9 after the fallen trooper.

“She’s been phenomenal,” Cresanti said of Kara, whom lives with the trooper and his family. “She’s not very big, but she’s great.”

Kubasiak, 33, of Gowanda was shot and killed after responding to a residence in the town of Dayton. The nine-year veteran of the State Police had known the person involved in the domestic incident, and had been called in that day with his K-9 partner, Donovan, to assist police already on scene. Kubasiak was based in the Troop A satellite office in Gowanda when he died.

When in Cooperstown, Kara will undergo training in human tracking, narcotics and building searches. Cresanti said he also hopes to include cadaver detection training, as he had done with Garro and Kubi.

“Right now I’m just trying to get her on schedule,” Cresanti said, noting the demand placed on K-9s. “If something were to happen to me, anybody can handle these dogs as long as they understand what they’re asking the dog to do. But if need-be, I can have any other trooper or any other officer that’s been familiar with me tell the dog what to do and the dog will do it.”

With Kara coming from Holland, Cresanti said he has had to learn a little Dutch to interact with his new partner. He joked, “I’m not fluent in Dutch, but I can speak dog.”

When Kubi is retired, the German Shepherd will continue living with Cresanti and his family.

“She’s a rock star also,” Cresanti said. “She’s great, and she’s worked her tail off. She doesn’t really consider herself a pet, but she’ll live at my house and watch over my family.”

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