By Amber Brenza

The Leader

BATH — Each time Army Sgt. Devin A. Snyder’s name was mentioned in the conference room at the Steuben County Public Safety Building Thursday, Deputy Devin would perk up his ears at attention paired with deafening barks - as if he knew of the event’s significance. Not your ordinary member of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Devin was recently imported from Holland. The nearly 2-year-old German Shepherd is the county’s latest addition to its sheriff’s department - a gift from the Sgt. Devin A. Snyder Memorial Foundation to honor Snyder. Deputy Devin is the department’s second K-9; Deputy Daimon, also a German Shepherd, joined the department in January 2013. A specialist in the U.S. Army Military Police division, Snyder was killed June 4, 2011 by an improvised explosive device during a tour in Afghanistan. The 20-year-old sergeant was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska, with the 164th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion. Snyder’s parents, Edward and Dineen Snyder, established the foundation following their daughter’s death as an effort to assist local law enforcement in Steuben and Livingston counties with equipment purchases and training. The foundation donated $10,000 to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department for Deputy Devin. “The foundation donated $10,000,” Dineen Snyder said. “And each year, we will contribute needed items for both Daimon and Devin, as well as take care of the expenses for food and vet costs.” The Snyders thought up the canine donation following the foundation’s 2013 Ride to Remember - the first parade-style, 100-mile ride through Steuben and Livingston counties to honor their daughter. As an animal lover and law enforcement supporter, the Snyders believed a canine donation would best represent and honor Sgt. Snyder. “She was a big animal lover and that’s why we decided on this,” Dineen Snyder said. “She’ll guide Deputy Devin and Deputy Daimon to do what’s right for the community, so that’s what we want.” The Snyders thanked their support system as well as those who donated to the foundation’s Ride to Remember. They also noted that the donation couldn’t have happened without Steuben County Sheriff David V. Cole and his acceptance of the foundation’s gift. “Without the donations and the help with the ride and all of the volunteers, this couldn’t have been done,” Dineen said. “And if Sheriff Cole hadn’t accepted the donation, we wouldn’t be here today, celebrating and honoring Devin with Deputy Devin.” A combat veteran himself, Cole acknowledged that Thursday’s ceremony was a difficult one, asking those in the room to take a minute of silence for Sgt. Snyder. “There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think about our loved ones that we lose in the fight for freedom,” Cole said. “Freedom isn’t free, and sometimes it’s a huge cost to all Americans.” But after the solemn remembrance, Cole’s focus shifted to the positives of the department’s new addition. “We’re working on a drug initiative, which the canines are going to fall very much into because now we’ll have two K-9s, seven days a week,” Cole said. In collaboration with the New York State Police and local chiefs of police, the sheriff’s department hopes to bring drugs back into the focus of law enforcement. But before that can happen, Deputy Devin has a bit more training to go through, according to Deputy Kenneth O’Dell, who is in charge of the four-legged deputy. O’Dell has had Deputy Devin for about a month and is currently working on getting him narcotics- and track-trained, after which, Deputy Devin, who will be considered at patrol dog, will be New York State-certified. A daunting task at first, O’Dell quickly warmed to the idea of being assigned Deputy Devin. Though stern in his German K-9 commands, O’Dell has formed a quick bond with his new partner. “Several people thought I’d be a good match to lead the K-9, so here I am,” O’Dell said. “It’s great to be in this position and have a dog named Devin after Sgt. Snyder.”