Woman shares story of being 1st female K-9 officer in city of Yonkers

In 1987, 31-year-old Louise Dulak had just become the first - and only - female K-9 officer in the city of Yonkers.

Emily Young

Mar 28, 2024, 1:11 AM

Updated 19 days ago

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A retired Yonkers officer is sharing her story of working in the K-9 division of the department during Women's History Month.
There are over 205,000 K-9 officers in the United States, and only 6% of those are female.
In 1987, 31-year-old Louise Dulak had just become the first - and only - female K-9 officer in the city of Yonkers.
Her partner was a German shepherd named Ralph.
She knew she was stepping into a man's world, with only 11 females on the force when she joined.
"I knew I was joining a club," she said. "I did not plan on having that phase me at all. I was going to do whatever I had to do to be a police officer," she says. "They didn't dwell on it, and I didn't dwell on it. We just worked together, and if we were going into the building, the one who got to the door first went in first."
They responded to calls all over the city.
"It could be anything from a stolen license plate to an armed robbery, so you have to stay loose because you have to be able to respond to anything in between," she says.
Ralph and Louise fed off of each other's energy.
"He would do the building search for us, for whatever set off the alarm. The longer you leave the bad guy in the building, the easier it is for the dogs to find them," Dulak explained. "They're nervous, they're building up sweat and if they are running around, they're throwing scent beads all over the place."
She said it didn't matter that she was a woman
"Nobody cut me any slack, nobody cut Ralph any slack," she said.
Until it did.
"Pregnancy is looked at as a disability," she explained.
She faced choices and decisions no man would ever have to make.
"I got pregnant again, so we had to go off the streets again."
One can be a trailblazer, but when you're also a mother, your trail may take a different turn.


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