Dogs aid security teams on boats
June 3, 2011 by JAMES BERNSTEIN / email@example.com
If you see German shepherds, a Belgian Malinois or a Labrador retriever sniffing around your car on one of the ferry boats owned by the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co., relax. They are on your side. Under a U.S. Homeland Security grant, the company has hired Manorville-based Long Island K-9 Service to provide dogs that are trained to sniff out explosives aboard the boats.
Fred Hall, the ferry company's vice president and general manager, said the three-year grant totals about $300,000.
According to a company statement, the ferry is the first in the country to receive a federal grant to hire an explosive detection canine team, but Homeland Security officials were unable immediately to verify that. Hall declined to say how often or when the dogs would be used, citing security reasons.
James Greco, 57, owner of Long Island K-9 Service and another company, Long Island Security Consultants, said he has 11 dogs -- seven shepherds, two Malinois, and two black Labs. The company has 20 employees, all with law-enforcement backgrounds. He started Long Island K-9 Service company about 15 years ago but has been training dogs most of his life.
"I feel very close with animals," said Greco, who has two Malinois and a black Lab at home. His wife, Nicole Greco, and their two children, who are 4 and 6, are all dog lovers.
Greco's dog company has grown, going from only a few thousand dollars in sales over a decade ago to an expected $100,000 this year. He won a contract in 2004 to provide K-9 bomb-sniffing services at the 2004 Republican National Convention in Manhattan.
"I have a passion for this," Greco said.