Ithaca police welcome K9 Bert to the force

By Kelly McCarthy

June 23, 2014 Updated Jun 23, 2014 at 5:27 PM EST

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Ithaca Police Department welcomes a new addition to the force. K9 Bert was sworn in to the department Monday morning.

The Czech-German Shepard came to Ithaca a few months ago when the Police Department raised enough money to start back up a K9 team.

Bert's handler, Officer Pat Kimmich, said the new K9 team will help the department combat crime in the community.

"He is a safety tool for us," Kimmich said, "In police work safety is our number one priority for we're going home tonight and he's going to help us do that and you can't put a price on that, you can't put a number on it."

Bert's specialty will be explosives and firearm detection.

Bert just finished patrol school and is state certified in tracking.

He'll finish up his explosive detection training in August.

Ithaca Police said the goal is to get three K-9's back in the program, so there will be one working each shift.