To get things rolling for Law Enforcement Appreciation Night on Saturday at the Nassau Coliseum when the Islanders take on the Carolina Hurricanes, Islanders forward Darryl Bootland traveled to the Suffolk County Police K-9 Unit in Yaphank on Wednesday.
The Islanders’ forward is a dog owner and has owned a couple of fierce dogs during his days, including a Doberman, so Bootland fit right into the situation.
The Suffolk County Police executed various drills designed to train their German Shepherd police dogs – imported from Germany. Bootland watched the first exercise from afar, which involved a cop and her dog searching small box houses for a hidden person.
The dog went from box to box as the officer motioned in different directions. Finally, once the dog discovered the person, unseen to everyone, he began barking. The "criminal" exited the box and then began to run, with the dog chasing after him. The K-9 grabbed hold of a special arm protector and latched on before the "criminal" surrendered.
In the next drill, Bootland witnessed first-hand how agile a dog can be. He would leap over fences and climb up steep steps that even the most nimble person would have difficult overcoming.
After completing the obstacle course, Bootland had his first interaction with a K-9 as he held on tightly to a chew toy attached to a rope. With all of his 197-pound force Bootland could not rip the toy from the jaws.
"When we train the dogs, we try to make it as much fun as possible," said officer Tom Tatarian. "There are always toys involved and positive reinforcement. They're really just having fun out here, that's how we make them so obedient."
Bootland next had a complete hands-on experience. One officer began antagonizing German Shepherd, Thunder, who began to lunge, but Bootland held onto the leash to prevent a full attack. With all of his might, Bootland was able to hold Thunder.
Finally Bootland let go and Thunder grabbed hold of the officer's fake arm. He was whirled around in a circle in midair, to demonstrate how tightly the dog was holding on.
"It's a very powerful animal," said Bootland, who currently owns a part-rottweiler, part beagle. "I had to hold him back with everything I had. I felt if I eased up for a second it would pull my arm right off. It was being nice to me, so it wasn't too scary. If it had turned on me that would be another story."
Following the final drill, Bootland, the officers and their children, who came out for the day to visit the Islanders forward, took pictures and exchanged handshakes and autographs. Bootland was given special cards featuring members of the K-9 unit, as well as a K-9 unit t-shirt.
"Today was a nice change of pace, since I've been to 100s of Islanders games," said Tatarian, partner of Thunder, "but this is the first time an Islanders player has come here. It was a nice treat for everyone here. It's great that the Islanders are holding a night to honor the men and women in law enforcement here on Long Island. I'll be there, my family will be there and a good portion of the officers here will be there."
Said Bootland: "It was great to see what they do because I have trouble training my dog at home, said Bootland. "I got to see first-hand how strong, yet obedient the dogs are with the officers. I have a new-found appreciation for these officers who spend five months training the dogs, so they can be ready to go. It's pretty amazing."Check out Islanders TV for exclusive videos of the players in the community. Law Enforcement Appreciation Night Law enforcement members receive 40% off tickets, first 10,000 fans receive collectible hat courtesy of Fox Sports NY
Law Enforcement members receive up to 40% off tickets to Saturday's game, starting at just $16. To purchase tickets at the box office, please be sure to bring your law enforcement ID card.
Long Island's finest don't just know how to serve and protect, but also how to put on a good show. The Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) will be visiting the Nassau Coliseum fully equipped with must-see vehicles and equipment that they use on a daily basis.
Highlights include a fully operational Mobile Command Center, Emergency Service Unit vehicles and gear, the K-9 unit Bootland visited, Bicycle and Mounted Units and a NCPD chopper. All of these displays will be on-site outside, on the Coliseum plaza.
Also joining the festivities will be the Bureau of Special Operations (BSO) S.W.A.T. Unit, which will excite the crowd by rappelling off of the Coliseum. But that's only the beginning. They'll reconvene inside to make a special puck delivery prior to the start of the game that may go down as one of the most exciting puck drops in Coliseum history, so don't miss it.
"We're really excited to be helping out on Law Enforcement Appreciation Night," said Sgt. John Hermann of the BSO. "Many of the guys in our unit are huge Islanders fans, so guys were really eager to be a part of Saturday's event. It was tough deciding who would be here."
Saturday's game will be attended by the NCPD Commissioner, Lawrence Murphy, who will stand with the Color Guard during Officer Brian Enoch's singing of our National Anthem. The NCPD Pipe and Drum unit will serve as the first intermission entertainment.
A portion of the proceeds of Saturday's ticket sales will go towards the Nassau County Widows & Orphans Fund and the Learning for Life Nassau County Law Enforcement Exploring Unit, dedicated to educating the youths of Long Island.
The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Islanders Law Enforcement-themed hat courtesy of Fox Sports New York. It's the second collectible hat of a three-part installment. Call 1.800.888.ISLES to reserve your tickets today or visit ticketmaster.com
Halloween Pack Available!
Halloween is almost here, and the Islanders want to celebrate the ghostly holiday with you, your friends and family at Saturday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Islanders have cooked up the perfect potion to bring the whole family for just $99. The Halloween Pack includes 4 tickets to the game, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas. If you are among the first 10,000 fans to arrive at the Coliseum on Saturday - also Law Enforcement Appreciation Night - you will also receive a collectible blue Islanders hat courtesy of Fox Sports New York.
This frightening deal is valued at $225, but for Saturday's game it's priced at just $99. So bring your friends and family!
The Islanders will also be holding a Halloween Mask Raffle at Saturday's game. Make sure to get a raffle ticket at the game to win a Halloween mask created and autographed by your favorite Islanders player.
To purchase a Halloween Pack, please call 1.800.882.ISLES ext. 2.