Sonny, a Labrador retriever who turns 2 in January, joined the force to sniff out drugs. He is the first K-9 officer in Gates in nearly 40 years.
The dog is named for Sung “Sonny” Chung, a former Gates officer who had to retire in 2002 after sustaining serious injuries in a car crash while responding to a call. Chung, who visited the station house often after his injury and helped out with various tasks, was struck and killed by a vehicle in 2012 while he was walking on West Ridge Road in Greece.
“Everybody was, ‘What should we name the dog?’” said Officer Matthew Miller, who is the animal’s full-time handler. “ ‘Sonny. Sonny.’ Obviously, Sonny was it.”
Miller said he did not know Chung before his accident but said Chung always was happy when he was around other officers.
“I don’t think they have the same smile,” Miller said of the canine Sonny. “But they have the same energy. We’re honored to name him after Sonny.”