Taz, a German Shepherd working as part of the New York Police Department’s K9 unit, has recently passed away due to cardiac arrest. Taz was nearly two years old when he was assigned to first-response search-and-rescue after the September 11th attacks. He would have been ten years old this October 31st. Following his valient rescue efforts in 2001, Taz continued to serve the New York Polce Department where his duties were to search for evidence, suspects and missing persons alongside his handler, Officer Scott Ryan.
The New York Police Department has made use of police and protection dogs for over a century. While the concept of a police dog was mocked initially, dogs like Taz have proved themselves to be an essential part of police investigations and rescue attempts. In the search-and-rescue effort following September 11th, dogs were deployed round-the-clock with an average of eight police dogs per 12-hour shift.
The New York Police Department currently employs about forty police dogs, most of which are German Shepherds. Taz was the last of the dogs involved in the September 11th rescue effort to still serve on the force.