The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey welcomed five officers and their K-9s to the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) K-9 Unit in a graduation ceremony held recently at the Newark Liberty International Airport. K-9s Mag, Bruce, Mimmo, Stuey and Amo were named in honor of fallen 9/11 PAPD officers.
Adding to this beautiful tribute honoring our fallen 9/11 officers, PAPD recruit Anthony Cortazzo, son of fallen PAPD Officer John Cortazzo, presented K-9 Officer Sean Lynch and K-9 Bruce with the John Cortazzo “Top Dog” Award. The award was renamed this year after John Cortazzo, a 12-year member of the PAPD K-9 unit who passed away on March 14, 2009, due to a 9/11-related illness.
The five newly trained teams of officers and K-9s successfully completed the PAPD’s 14-week training course for certification in explosives and narcotics detection. PAPD also trained two members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Department to become K-9 trainers and K-9 handlers. PAPD’s K-9 unit trains handlers and K-9s on an as-needed basis.
The five K-9 graduates range from 1 to 2 years of age. The four German Shepherds and one Belgian Malinois, along with their human handlers, will patrol various Port Authority facilities in explosive and narcotics detection capacities.
December 2022 PAPD K-9 team graduates
- Police Officer Kevin Gallagher and 2-year-old German Shepard mix Mag, who was named after Police Officer David LeMagne. LeMagne died on 9/11 while a part of a human chain evacuating the North Tower.
- Police Officer Sean Lynch and 1-year-old German Shepard mix Bruce, who was named after Police Officer Bruce Reynolds. Reynolds died on 9/11 performing rescue efforts for the South Tower.
- Police Officer Gary Zintl and 1-year-old German Shepard mix Mimmo, who was named after Police Officer Dominick Pezzulo. Pezzulo died on 9/11 after freeing his two colleagues from fallen debris.
- Police Officer Kirk Kouzis and 2-year-old German Shepard Stuey, who was named after Police Officer Walwyn Stuart. Stuart died on 9/11 performing rescue efforts for the North Tower.
- Police Officer John Adams and 2-year-old Belgium Malinois Amo, who was named after Police Officer Christopher Amoroso. Amoroso died on 9/11 after leading several people to safety from the lower levels of the North Tower.
About the Port Authority Police K-9 Unit
The Port Authority’s K-9 Unit was created in 1984. The agency began training detection K-9s in 1993 after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Since the start of the agency’s training program, 128 teams have been trained in either explosive or narcotic detection for this specialized unit. The narcotic detection K-9 teams are certified and highly trained K-9s who respond in a timely matter to Port Authority police operations to reduce the transportation of drugs in the metropolitan area. The highly trained explosive detection K-9 teams function as a deterrent to terrorism directed toward transportation systems and work collaboratively with federal, state and local partners. One of the most well-known members of the PAPD K-9 team was K-9 Sirius, who was killed during the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center.