NEW YORK — The NYPD is gearing up for Friday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and you can expect to see them out in force, including a special team aiming to keep an important part of the parade route safe.
Walking past the iconic Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, while taking in its beauty, passersby may stop for a different reason — to meet “Freddy.”
The 6-year-old dog is Det. Katrina Narvaez’ partner in fighting crime.
“He’s my best friend,” she said.
He’s a lab mixed with a wirehaired pointer, so he may not look like a typical police K-9, but while he’s being pet and posing for photos, Detective Freddy is hard at work.
“Freddy is a vapor-wake, which means he looks for explosives, but he also can trail somebody who’s carrying explosives,” Narvaez said.
He can also sniff out guns.
The pair is part of the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit, patrolling high-profile places, like the historic church, and doing so while carrying on the legacy of the lieutenant Freddy is named after.
“He’s named after Lt. Federico Narvaez,” Narvaez said. “He was a lieutenant in the 70th Precinct in 1996, and he was killed in the line of duty.”
Narvaez was just 9 years old when her father was shot and killed.
“I knew he was a cop, but I didn’t really know what police officers did or what they represented, so after he passed away, I got to spend a lot of time with other police officers, and it made me want to become a cop,” she said.
Following in her father’s footsteps, she joined the NYPD in 2013, starting in the same precinct he served. Five years later, she entered the emergency service unit and was paired with Freddy. They went through months of special training, building a bond, to be ready for this role.
Freddy came from a program in Alabama, where his training began with Narvaez. He doesn’t just work with her; he also lives with her, so the two have really formed a close bond.
“It just comes back to that core feeling of wanting to help, wanting to have a purpose,” Narvaez said.
Protecting and serving the city while honoring her dad.
“I think he’d be proud,” she said.
If you want to see Narvaez and Freddy, they’ll be outside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral during Friday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, helping keep the people of New York City safe.