Family Of Former Deputy Meets K-9 Named In His Honor

The family of Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Link had the chance to see for the first time K-9 Link and Sheriff K-9 Handler Chad Wright. Pictured from the left are: Kelly Link, Kevin’s wife; Robert Link, brother; Doug Owen, brother-in-law; Maggie Owen, sister; Miranda Owen, niece; K-9 Link and Wright. Not pictured is Rena Fox-Link, sister-in-law, who was also in attendance. P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy

POMFRET — Link, a young K-9 within the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, is entering his fourth week of training.

Sheriff’s deputies Chad Wright and Bryan Burmaster say the energy and demeanor of the 15-month-old German shepherd reflect the deputy he was named after.

Deputy Kevin Link was a member of the Sheriff’s Office for 16 years and a school resource officer at Silver Creek Central School for nearly three years. He was an active member of the Sheriff’s Office Dive and SWAT teams, and also a proficient EMT. Link was a U.S. Army veteran and former deputy with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department before transferring to Chautauqua County.

In October, Link was returning to his home from a run when he reportedly collapsed. Link passed away at the age of 50.

K-9 Link is currently in the middle of training to become the fifth dog within the Sheriff’s K-9 Unit. He is being trained in patrol and drug detection.

K-9 Handler Chad Wright embraces Kelly Link, wife of former Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Link. Wright named the 15-month-old German shepherd after Deputy Link, who passed away in October when he collapsed during a run. P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy

Wright, a four-year member who was recently appointed to be a handler, didn’t need to think long for the K-9’s name.

“The decision was a no-brainer as a friend of Deputy Link,” Wright said.

Last week, the family of Deputy Link had the chance to see K-9 Link in person for the first time. During their visit at the Sheriff’s Substation in Pomfret on Monday, Wright and K-9 Link performed a demo to show the family their progress in hopes to be ready for patrol this summer.

“I could just picture my husband being here and talking to the dog and working with the dog,” said Kelly Link. “The fact that they’re doing this to honor Kevin I know would really mean a lot to him for his number of years serving.”

Kelly Link presented Wright with her husband’s St. Michael Patron of Police shield pendant necklace. St. Michael is known as a patron saint of law enforcement and a protector.

Burmaster, who also serves as a dog trainer, said K-9 Link is on track, having gone through agility testing and some area and building searches. Following initial training, Burmaster said he will start detector training.

K-9 Link was obtained by the Sheriff’s Office through a vendor in North Carolina. Burmaster said the dog originally came from overseas in Holland.

“We didn’t know a lot about the dog, but we’re right where we should be with him,” he said. “He’s definitely coming around. We still have to throw tracking in there, so there’s a lot to do yet.”

See tomorrow’s edition of The Sunday Post-Journal for the complete story.


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