Law Enforcement Canine Handlers and Trainers from across the United State came together for the common interest of creating practical standards for Law Enforcement Canine Teams and furthering the training of Canine Teams with the common goal of providing the best possible Law Enforcement Canine service to their communities. The Eastern Police Canine Association, Inc., (EPCA) founding members were Gary Harvey from Virginia, David Smith and Duane Shaffer from New York, Joe Collins from New Hampshire and John Reynolds from Alabama in 1994 as a private non-profit independent association. John and Joe eventually moved on to other endeavors and were replaced by John Vanek from New York filling out the Board of Directors. Later Anthony Patricola and Vanja Mikelic from New York and Mike Page from Pennsylvania were nominated and accepted to the Board of Directors.
President Duane Shaffer
Vice President Anthony Patricola
Treasure Edward McCulskey
Secretary John "Larry" Vanek
The EPCA is funded by membership fees and private donations. These funds are used to purchase Canines and training equipment. At host seminars, EPCA Licensed Trainers conduct training in various deployment profiles as well as testing of Canine Teams to include but are not limited to Protection, Tracking and Trailing, Search and Rescue, Scent Detection for Accelerants, Evidence Recovery, Explosives, Human Remains, and Narcotics. The EPCA has progressive degrees of certifications testing available and encourage its members to continue to advance. EPCA is ever evolving to ensure that our members are accountable to be giving their best back to their communities.
Membership is open to all police officers, police K-9 Unit members, trainers, or any duly-authorized and sponsored persons regardless of location. The membership fee is $50.00 per year per member which includes testing for certification no same seminar retesting if failed. Membership application forms are available in the membership section of this site.
TO PROVIDE FOR THE HUMANE TREATMENT OF ALL DOGS
TO PROMOTE USE OF WORKING POLICE DOGS FOR POLICE SERVICE CANINES AND RELATED USES
TO DEMONSTRATE THE ADVANTAGES OF POLICE SERVICE CANINE TRAINING
TO SUPPORT AND ORGANIZE TRIALS FOR POLICE SERVICE CANINES
TO SUPPORT THE USE OF CANINES BY ALL POLICE DEPARTMENTS
TO GENERATE INTEREST AND TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC CONCERNING POLICE SERVICE CANINES.
TO PROMOTE AND MAINTAIN THE UNIFORM STANDARDS FOR POLICE SERVICE CANINES
TO PROMOTE AND PRACTICE SAFE CANINE PROCEDURES FOR THE OFFICER, PUBLIC, AND CANINES
February 6, 2024
Congratulations to Owego NY Paramedic/Community Officer for successfully passing certification with K-9 Junior as a Critical Incident Therapy Dog Team.
Congratulations to Poughkeepsie NY Police Ofc Mikelic and K-9 Kenna for successfully passing certification as a Certified Police Dog Team I and NYC DEP Police Sgt Bauer and K-9 Cole for successfully passing certification as a Certified Police Dog Team II.
December 6, 2023
It is with great sadness that the Owego Police Department has lost a vital member of our staff. On Wednesday December 6th, 2023 our K-9 Max “Critical Incident Therapy Dog”, lost his fight with cancer.
Max started with the Owego Police in early 2023 after he was certified with Eastern Police K-9 Association as a Critical Incident K-9, the first ever to be certified for in this field. Max was attached to our Community Policing Unit and served as a Victim Comfort and Support K-9. Maxi’s duties were critical incidents scene support for victims, witnesses, first responders and support staff. Max was a rescue dog from Texas who was adopted by his handler Sonya Bement, from a shelter in Pennsylvania.
Max was a vital addition to our department along with his handler Sonya Bement. Max and Sonya assisted with all the events in the village and were available for crisis interventions with adults and children. Max and Sonya wrote 2 books on Max’s hard life experiences, work and frequently traveled to schools in Tioga and Broome County’s to do book readings with the children.
Max had a very soft pleasant ability to warm people. Max loved to meet people and helped them by getting pets from them. When Max entered a room everyone would always start smiling, especially the kids, petting was a requirement by Max. Max also would smile when asked. It was called Maxi’s smile… he would also talk to you. Max was therapeutic to all who came in contact with him, especially us police officers around the station.
He will forever be missed.
If you want to know more about Max’s life and his work please look into his books, “Maxi’s Smile” and “Maxi’s K9 Friends” written by Sonya Bement on https://www.lulu.com/search?page=1&q=sonya+bement
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 Congratulations to:
Town of Poughkeepsie Police Officer Mikelic K-9 Kenna Certifying as Street Ready Police Dog Team
Tuesday, October 3, 2023 congratulations to:
Tompkins County Sheriff Deputy Montesano K-9 Laker
Cornell University Police Sgt Haines K-9 Luna
Cornell University Police Sgt Hollenbeck K-9 Axel
for successfully passing certification as Police Bomb Dog II (an advanced certification) along with NYS DCJS Certification as a Bomb Dog.
Friday, September 15, 2023 was the end of the 2023 Poughkeepsie Training Seminar.
NYC DEP Police Kelly Bauer for successfully completing certification with the Eastern Police Canine Association achieving certification as Police Bomb Dog II (an advanced certification) and Certified Police Dog I (an advanced certification) with her partner K-9 Cole
NYC DEP Police James Dipietrantonio and his partner K-9 Werner achieving certification as Police Bomb Dog II (an advanced certification).
Friday June 16. 2023 was the end of the 2023 Advanced Handlers Training Seminar. The Association trainers and examiners would like to congratulate the the following teams for their successes:
Officer L. Vanek and K9 Rhoda of the Owego Police Dept. for passing NYS Tracking certification, NYS Narcotics certification, and Eastern Police Canine Association certifications in tracking and Narcotics Dog I.
Officer A. Pike and K 9 Maggie of the Owego Police Dept. for passing Eastern Police Canine Association Narcotics Dog I.
Sgt. R. McCulskey and K9 Sig of the Owego Police Department for successfully recertifying as Police Narcotics Dog II.
Officer R. Terry and K9 Riggs of the Sidney Police Department for passing NYS and Eastern Police Canine certifications in Narcotics Detection.
Officer KT Ray Smith and K9 Reign Vestal Police Department for successfully passing Eastern Police Canine Association certifications in Tracking and Narcotics Dog I.
Officer S. Stelmak and K9 Attyro of the Scranton Police Dept. for passing Eastern Police Canine Association certifications in Tracking and Bomb Dog II.
Officer D. Coakley and K9 Red of the State University Police- Cortland for successfully passing Eastern Police Canine Association Bomb Dog II.
Deputy M. Montesano and K9 Laker of the Tompkins County Sheriffs Dept. for completing NYS and Eastern Police Canine Association certifications in Explosive Detection, Tracking, and Article Search.
Sgt. J. Haines and K9 Luna of the Cornell University Police for completing NYS and Eastern Police Canine Association certifications in Explosive Detection, Tracking, and Article Search.
Sgt, K. Hollenbeck and K9 Axel of the Cornell University Police for successfully passing NYS and Eastern Police Canine Association certifications in Explosive Detection, Tracking, and Article Search.
Paramedic Sonya Bement and K9 Max Owego Police Department Critical Incident Therapy Dog