1. Home
  2. Press Releases
  3. MTA Police Department’s Canine Unit Receives 2021 Top Dog Award

MTA Police Department’s Canine Unit Receives 2021 Top Dog Award

Updated December 15, 2021 10:30 p.m.

Members of MTA PD Canine Unit Attend Schwarzman Animal Medical Center’s Top Dog Gala 

View Photos of Top Dog Awards Gala 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Police Department today announced that the Canine Unit was recognized as an honoree at the Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Animal Medical Center’s 2021 Top Dog Gala. The Top Dog Award is presented to a group of working dogs in honor of their commendable service.  

On behalf of the MTA PD Canine Unit, Sgt. Nelson Hernandez, Police Officer (PO) Daniel Gambrell, PO Allan Fong with canine partner, Daucher, and PO Giselle Gil with canine partner, Willie, accepted the award at last night’s event in honor of their selfless service and sacrifice.  

“We are proud of the work our canine teams put in from the start of training to day-to day operations,” said MTA PD Chief Joseph McGrann. “This recognition is a reminder that our canine unit are frontline workers too, who serve and protect alongside a police officer.” 

“The Stephen and Christine Animal Medical Center (AMC) is so proud to honor the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department Canine Unit (MTA PD) with the 2021 Top Dog Award,” said Kathryn Coyne, President and Chief Executive Officer at AMC. “As one of the largest canine explosives detection forces in the nation, the MTA Police Department Canine Unit serves a critical role in protecting Metro-North Rail Road, Long Island Railroad, Staten Island Railway, and other transportation facilities and terminals each and every day.” 

“This award deservingly shines the spotlight on our canine teams who undergo extensive training,” said MTA PD Lieutenant James Chirillo. “Most people don’t realize how challenging it can be to train a dog for a mass transit environment – to become accustomed to noise, crowds and even extreme weather in some situations. The MTA PD’s Canine unit are truly special dogs.”  

“A strong bond is developed between a canine and their handler,” said MTA PD Police Officer Allan Fong. “Our dogs never complain and love coming to work and interacting with the public." 

“We are honored that the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center recognized our canine unit at their Top Dog event,” said MTA PD Police Officer Giselle Gil. “It means a lot to us too, it’s more than a handler and dog relationship, they are part of our family and we have a very special bond.” 

About the MTA Police Department’s Canine Unit 
The MTA PD Canine Unit currently has 36 teams whose mission is to deter terrorism and prevent crime on the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, Staten Island Railway and at respective transportation terminals and facilities.   

The MTA PD Canine Unit reinvented canine training to be effective in terrorist prevention in a public transit environment after Sept. 11, 2001. They’ve implemented a combination of unique patrol, intel, canine explosive detection tactics and have learned to adapt to different threats as they develop.  The MTA PD has one of the largest canine explosives detection forces in the country.   

In June of 2015, the MTA PD Canine Training Center (CTC) was opened in Stormville, N.Y., in Dutchess County, to enable the extensive training required. The main building is 20,000 square feet on 71 acres and is recognized as the most advanced and largest police canine facility in the country. The training center is equipped with 26 in/outdoor kennels, a canine medical room, real-world simulated training fields including train cars, railroad tracks and signaled crossings. 
About Schwarzman Animal Medical Center  
The Animal Medical Center is the world’s largest non-profit animal hospital. Founded in 1910 as a temporary clinic to help animals whose owners could not afford medical care, today AMC’s over 120 veterinarians work collaboratively across more than 20 specialties and services to treat 60,000 patient visits each year. The hospital maintains the only level one trauma center in the NYC area, and it has provided advanced medical training to more veterinarians than any other animal hospital. AMC offers services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.