FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2021

CONTACT: Press Office

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Photo Credit: Todd Putman

East Elmhurst, NY – A team from the New York City Department of Correction has placed 3rd overall in the National K9 Detection Dog Challenge Competition, a first-of-its-kind event in which the nation’s top law enforcement K9 teams compete against each other to detect hidden explosives and narcotics.
Competing on behalf of DOC were Correction Officer Lawrence McArdle and K9 Zoey, who detect contraband on Rikers Island. They placed in the top 3 for narcotics, nosing out 7 other teams.

The contest, which took place at the at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, aired on ESPN2 on Sunday, November 28, and saw ten narcotics dog teams and ten explosives detection dog teams compete against each other to see which could most quickly navigate obstacles and find their respective substances. The teams were scored on the accuracy of their search, the perfection of their alert, and the find itself (a combination of the ability of the dog and the handler to accurately tell judges where the hide is located).

McArdle and Zoey were able to deftly locate narcotics hidden in luggage in an airport-like setting and later in two different vehicles, garnering an overall score of 196.34 out of 200. The unusual setting was no small feat for a team accustomed to working in the confines of the City’s jails.

“Zoey is a German short-haired pointer, known for their exquisite hunting skills. They are bred to be instinctive high-drive hunting dogs for all types of quarry including rabbits, raccoons, game, birds, deer, and more,” said Correction Officer Lawrence McArdle. “We used that naturally given hunting skill and trained Zoey to be an amazing narcotics hunter. We had such a great time and as always, we’re proud to represent the NYC Department of Correction.”


1CO McArdle and K9 Zoey find narcotics hidden in a vehicle grill. (Photo credit: Todd Putnam)


McArdle was recently honored with a Meritorious Duty Medal for helping to capture an individual on Rikers Island who escaped a housing facility in June of 2020. Previously, McArdle and Zoey won a citation award at the USPCA Region 7 Detection Trials. 

“Our department sends a round of applause to everyone who competed,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi. “We’re honored to have been selected to participate and we’re extremely proud of Zoey and Officer McArdle. They and all of our K9 teams are invaluable to the safety and security of our jail system, where they work hard every single day.”

“The AKC is proud to profile the great service that our K9 officers provide to our nation to help keep us safe,” said Chris Sweetwood, Board Director for the American Kennel Club, which co-sponsored the event with the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA). “As the Event Chairman for the Challenge, this was a labor of love for our four-footed first responders and their human partners. We are proud to recognize their professionalism.”
If you’d like to interview Officer McArdle about the competition or our K9 unit, please send your request to the 

More photos available upon request.


About the Department of Correction

The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment while providing individuals in our care with a path to successfully re-enter their communities. The Department provides for the care and custody of people ordered held by the courts and awaiting trial or who are convicted and sentenced to one year or less of jail time. DOC manages 8 facilities housing people in custody, 7 of which are located on Rikers Island. The Department also operates two hospital wards (Bellevue and Elmhurst hospitals) and court facilities in each borough. Our dedicated workforce of both uniformed and non-uniformed staff members represents the city’s Boldest.