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  • 2020-08-17
  • Meghan Finnerty

K-9 Ellie Officially Joins University Police

Having completed their Police Academy training, K-9 Ellie and Officer Laura Thompson now constitute the K-9 Unit at SUNY Brockport.

K-9 Ellie and Officer Thompson

University Police (UP) at SUNY Brockport has added a four-legged furry friend to the force.

K-9 Ellie now joins Officer Laura Thompson as a UP partner and a permanent member of the Thompson family.

"The first time I saw her, I fell in love with her instantly,” Thompson said. "She comes to work with me every day and comes home with me every night."

Ellie's paw prints started to be seen on campus back in December of 2019. The young puppy, who couldn’t yet respond to commands, started out getting familiar with campus. Since then, Thompson and Ellie have trained every day either at the Public Safety Training Facility, an old Rochester school, or at home.

"I'm excited to see Officer Thompson and Ellie patrolling the campus this fall for the first time fully certified, keeping our campus safe and also creating a bridge for relationships with our community," said University Police Chief Daniel Vasile. "I knew when we started this journey that Ellie would help University Police in countless ways."

K-9 Ellie's First Paw Prints on Campus

Post-Academy Progress

Thompson and Ellie graduated from the K-9 Police Academy in late July, becoming certified in nitrate detection, tracking, obedience, and agility.

"It was a lot of hours, hard work, and dedication. Some days were hard. But seeing her progress was the best part," Thompson said.

Now, Ellie will be able to detect chemicals like TNT in homemade bombs, track the scent of a missing person, conduct building and open air searches, and check incoming mail.

UP hopes Ellie's 40 hours of work each week will be a deterrence of crime and bring a calm and safe presence to campus. Her K-9 skills will be an asset to multiple departments.

"She’s a working dog, but she’s also friendly," Thompson said, adding that you can pet her, if you ask first. "She’s not here to make people nervous."

"I believe the addition of K-9 Ellie is already paying dividends to University Police, SUNY Brockport, and the community," Vasile said. "Ellie quickly gained social media followers (@k9_ellie on Instagram and @k9ellie on TikTok, a sampling of which you can enjoy below), and I get asked all the time how she is doing, where is she, etc." Thompson and Ellie make him proud.


Just trying to eat lunch over here ##fyp ##k9 ##whatspoppin

♬ Biddl3 Whats Poppin Remix - biddl3music

Back in August of 2019, UP started to research the benefits of a police dog and K-9 unit. The team found other SUNY schools that had units, like Cortland, Morrisville, and Cobleskill, and started a proposal.

Thompson, who has been with UP three years, has always loved dogs. She once hoped that down the road — maybe 10 years into her career — she could be part of a K-9 unit. But her chance came sooner than she ever imagined.

"[Ellie] will be with me for her whole career. Then, she will retire and will stay a prominent member of the family," Thompson said.

Ellie fits in at home and on the force.

"I love coming to work with her every day. We’re inseparable, and that’s really helped our bond and makes us a better team," said Thompson. "I couldn’t be happier and more fortunate to be in this position."

K-9 Ellie headshots

Last Updated 5/26/21

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