ELMSFORD, N.Y. - Greenburgh Police Det. Wayne Papovitch gave a quick command and his partner Metro jumped through a window of the forensic science classroom at Alexander Hamilton High School Thursday morning.
Science teacher Julianna Puma's class welcomed Papovitch, the department's K-9 officer, and his four-year-old German Shepard partner to class for three sessions in live police work.
The class, which is offered in three sections throughout the school year, covers topics such as fingerprint, blood, and hair and fiber analysis; toxicology and drugs; entomology; anthropology; and DNA analysis. The students will also participate in a mock crime scene in January.
"The students are getting a great first-hand look at police work," Puma said. "We had the opportunity to have (Papovitch) come in and you can see that he and Metro are very impressive. This is a a great teaching tool."
Papovitch put Metro through some of his paces, giving commands and telling the students about how K-9 dogs are recruited and trained.
"We find that the European bred dogs are much better at police work," Papovitch said. "We look for a dog that isn't easily distracted and can focus on tasks. Metro has those special qualities. He is agile, fearless and strong."
Forensic science student Chris Clough said he enjoyed television crime shows like NCIS and took the class to find out more about the science.
"I'm hoping to be a filmmaker someday, but the police shows are interesting and forensic science interests me," Clough said. "I met the Detective's and his other dog (Patriot, who is retired) while I was at camp. It's really impressive how they work together."
Papovitch, who cares for his former partner, 12-tear-old Patriot and Metro in his home, said K-9 police dogs are a valuable and special breed.
"A qualified recruit use to cost about $3,000 and now they go for about $7,000," Popovich said. "They do such great work. They are trained to find drugs, track criminals on the run and add support in searches."
When asked by a student how Metro was paid, Popovich defined his partner's "salary" requirements.
"Metro works to play," the detective said. "Some police dogs work for food and treats. Metro wants to enjoy playing. And when he does his job, we play."
Metro and Papovitch ended their demonstration with the a K-9 drug recovery of a "stash" hidden in the classroom that took the four-legged officer less than three minutes to complete.
The successfully-completed task was followed by applause from the science class and playtime for Metro.