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State police celebrate, reach out

September 25, 2017
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

RAY BROOK - The New York State Police celebrated its centennial anniversary on Saturday, showing off its array of specialty tactics, skills and equipment to an eager public.

But according to a police spokeswoman, the display wasn't a just a show of force.

"Of course we wanted to appeal to families, we've got a lot of activities here for the kids," Troop B spokeswoman Jennifer Fleishman said. "It's important for the kids to see us. We're the good guys and we want to show them a good time and be acceptable to them."

Article Photos

Caed Bowden, 2, of Saranac Lake, sits in the pilot’s seat of the New York State Police Aviation Unit helicopter during the agency’s 100th anniversary celebration in Ray Brook on Saturday.
(News photo — Justin A. Levine)

Fleishman said that especially in today's political climate, outreach events like Saturday's are more important than ever.

"We are not just pulling you over on the road and writing you a ticket, we are so much more," she said.

In addition to helicopter and patrol dog demonstrations, the state police dive team, bomb squad and tactical units were all on hand, explaining what it is they do. Hundreds of people attended the event at the Troop B barracks in Ray Brook, and were given a little bit of history in addition to seeing troopers up close and personal.

"Obviously our Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and the aviation is a big draw. Let's just face it, that's cool. That's awesome to watch," she said. "But I think the K9 unit is another big draw for people.

"People love the K9s and all of our K9 handlers are so passionate about what they do and passionate about their dogs and the work they do and it shows. It shows in the way they talk to the public, too."

The state police as an organization were founded in 1917, and Troop B was formed a few years later in 1921. Troop B is both the northernmost troop and covers the largest amount of area of any state police troop.

Originally based in Malone, Troop B was known as the Black Horse Troop since they were largely equine-based patrols. The troop was active in the Prohibition era, and then again faced changes with the pending 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

K9 officers at the event Saturday said the troop's dog unit was formed in response to the Olympics, with the increased need to detect potential threats at the international gathering. It was also because of the Olympics that the Troop B headquarters were moved to Ray Brook from Malone.

According to a 1927 article in the Tupper Lake Herald, Troop B had an exciting and busy first few years.

During 1926, troopers "seized a total of 51 booze cars. The value of these cars and property seized was $50,975 ($717,559 in today's money), exclusive of the value of the liquor which investigations without arrest in aid was worth $23,679.90 ($333,575).

"Apart from their more regular duties, the Troopers during the year policed the summer White House, there being a detail of six men at the Kirkwood camp on Osgood lake all the time the President and Mrs. Coolidge were there.

"The Troopers also policed dances, county fairs, foot ball and basket ball games, inspected motion pictures, assisted in fighting fires, including forest fires, policed the city of Ogdensburg and assisted Federal agents and members of the border and customs patrols during the past year."



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