In its steadfast mission to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is deploying a new canine explosive detector team to the field that has a special connection to keeping people in the New Jersey area safe. CBP K-9 “Sirius,” a Black Labrador retriever born on September 23, 2004, at the CBP Canine Enforcement Training Center (CETC), received her name to honor the only working dog that died in World Trade Center attacks. Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major, is also known as the brightest star.
“CBP considers it a privilege to have one of our explosive detector dogs in the field named after ‘Sirius’ the Port Authority Police canine that perished in the World Trade Center tragedy,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Deborah J. Spero. “New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police Department Sergeant David Lim, and the citizens of the New York area, experienced a great loss on 9/11. This small gesture is intended as a tribute to our shared determination to remember and to prevent future tragedy.”
The original “Sirius” was a Golden Retriever that graduated from the Port Newark K-9 Center on July 15, 2000, as an Explosive Detection Dog, Badge #17. He was a member of the Port Authority Police Department. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Sirius and his partner, Officer David Lim, were at their Port Authority Police Station in the basement of the World Trade Center's Tower Two. When Officer Lim heard the sound of an explosion, he thought a bomb had gone off inside the building. Leaving Sirius in his kennel, Officer Lim rushed off to help with the rescue effort, promising to return and get him. Unfortunately, Officer Lim was trapped in the falling debris of Tower One for more than five hours and Sirius died in the collapse of Tower Two.
Sirius’ body was recovered on January 22, 2002. Keeping his promise, Officer Lim returned to claim his beloved partner. He received full police honors when his body was carried out and will always be remembered as a valiant member of the Port Authority Police Department.
“Sirius was more than just a dog and partner to me – he was a friend and member of my family. Along with thousands of others at the World Trade Center he lost his life and I am deeply moved that he is being honored in a way that continues to recognize the important work of a canine explosive detection dog,” said Sergeant Lim.
“Naming this dog after Sirius is a touching way to honor not only a beloved canine member of our force, but it also pays tribute to the memory of the 37 members of the Port Authority Police Department who sacrificed all on September 11, 2001,” said Port Authority Public Safety Director/Superintendent of Police Samuel J. Plumeri Jr.
CBP Canine Officer Walter C. Riggs and Sirius, along with nine other additional canine teams, graduated on December 22, 2005, from the CETC in Front Royal, Virginia. The explosive detector dog course is 15 weeks long and canine teams are trained to search cargo, luggage, buildings, passengers, trains, aircraft, and a myriad of land and sea conveyances for explosives. The explosive detector canine handler also receives an additional two weeks of essential safety training before graduation.
“There is a special bond between us, I just knew she was my dog. Sirius is a hard worker, loyal, and very smart. She is an asset to the canine enforcement program,” stated CBP Officer Riggs. “We will continue to train and work hard to protect the people of this great nation, just like her namesake and Officer Lim did before us.”