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Chris Erion

August 29, 2020 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9, Chris Erion, news, Sheriff's Office.


Leaving the Sheriff's Office after 20 years and six months of service is bittersweet, said K-9 Officer Chris Erion as he finished out his final shift before retiring yesterday.

He not only leaves behind a job he said matured him, he leaves behind his partner "Frankie," who will be paired with a new partner in the coming weeks.

"I've had a lot of great experiences. I've met a lot of wonderful people," Erion said. "I've seen a side of humanity, both good and bad, that I never would have seen had I not worked this job and been through experiences that have matured me. It's overwhelming to think of everything and trying to take it all in and think back over 20 years."

Erion joined the Sheriff's Office in March 2000.

He hasn't decided yet what comes next.

"I'm going to take a week or two and I'm going to kind of decompress and try to get the weight of the profession off of my heart and off my shoulders a little bit and reconnect with my family," Erion said. "They've been tremendous in just keeping things together over the years and the stresses that you go through. And they've earned it, too. It's not my retirement. It's something that they've earned as well."

Erion has four children, all under the age of 16.

Being a K-9 officer is a tough job on anyone, especially a family man.

"You have to be available," Erion said. "When that phone rings at two, three, or four in the morning, you have to be ready to go and go quickly. That takes a toll on everybody at home as well. I'm not getting any younger and you strap yourself to a 70-pound animal and go off into the darkness to wherever they take you. So it is a very physical job and it wears on you, but it's been very rewarding."

He's retiring at the age of 45. He looks back at himself as a 24-year-old rookie as somebody really didn't know much about life when he started.

"I was 24 and I was just a kid," Erion said. "I'm looking back now and I wasn't even an adult when I started. This job grows you up quickly."

His advice to young officers today: Do things right and do them the right way.

"Check your ego, because that will get you in trouble faster than anything else," Erion said. "Listen to the people around you that have been through the experiences that you're trying to learn. Take their advice. That's the easiest way to learn."

The tough job has been made a lot easier by the support of the people in the community, Erion said. He praised community members for the way they stand behind local law enforcement.

"I love this community," he said. "They back us and we know it and we try to be worthy of it."

Photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service. Article based on a recorded interview by Alecia Kaus.


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January 21, 2020 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in local knowledge, how-to, K9, frankie, Chris Erion, video.
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This is, we hope, the first in a series of videos we're calling "Local Knowledge."  We're looking for other people in the community to feature who have something to teach, a how-to video, of a specific task or skill.  If you think you have something to teach, email [email protected]

In this video, Deputy Chris Erion gives an overview of how to work with a police dog, starring K-9 "Frankie."

We would like to do more videos like this but they take time, which means we need help, and hiring help takes money. You can help us help you by becoming a patron. Click the "supporter" button below.

January 3, 2019 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9 Frankie, Sheriff's Office, Chris Erion, news, notify.


When "Frankie" starts full-time patrol duty this spring, Deputy Chris Erion said he will be a good boy -- good at sniffing out crime, good at locating and subduing criminals, and good at helping rescuers find lost and missing people.

"He's under control all the time; he never goes over the top where were he loses control of himself," Erion said. "He has that strong drive that we need to have a working dog. He wants to work and play, whatever it is, he'll work as hard as he can for whatever reward you have.

"He has a good structure to him, a very strong dog," Erion added. "He is strong when he needs it but he's eager to please me. He's working hard for my attention and my affection so that's what is going to help and transfer over in training and work."

Frankie is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois from Holland, located by a police dog specialist in Rochester who handled the import. He officially became the property of the Sheriff's Office two weeks ago but has been living and working with Erion longer than that while Erion evaluated Frankie for police work.

"I liked him because he seemed very clear-headed and he is always thinking about what he is doing," Erion said. "Sometimes these types of dogs tend to go over the top with their thought process and forget about what they're doing. They work so hard that they forget about what they're doing."

This a new stage for Erion's career. Five years ago, he was a new K-9 officer working and training with a first-time police dog. He and "Destro" were rookies at the K-9 job together. Now Erion has a better idea of the training the process and what to expect. That excites him, he said, about Frankie's potential.

It's bittersweet, too, because Destro, who succumbed in October to complications from cancer surgery, died so unexpectedly but Frankie represents a new opportunity.

"He's a good dog," Erion said. "He's a different personality than Destro -- a hard worker, if not harder, as intelligent if not better. I'm looking forward to getting going with him because the first dog, you don't know what to expect. Now, coming into the second dog, you know what the end game looks like. You know what it's going to look like at the end. And it's just a lot more fun, a lot more relaxing."

Erion's new partner is named after Deputy Frank Bordonaro, who died in 2014.

"We always like to remind people that Frank is still in our thoughts and it seemed very appropriate to name him Frankie," Erion said. "Frank was my first field training officer. He taught me how to do the job for the most part."

Genesee County's newest law enforcement duo will head to Canada in March to enhance and refine Frankie's training and then Frankie will be a full-fledged police dog.

Around here, tracking people is a big part of a K-9's job and Erion said Frankie will return from Canada ready to look for bad guys on the lam or find lost and vulnerable adults or children.

"He can track a little bit right now," Erion said. "We really need to fine tune it and polish it up and we'll do that at our school in Canada in March. That's one of the specialties of the school. That's one of the skills that we come out with is the ability to track and find people and locate people whether they're criminals, vulnerable people -- whatever that is. And I'm confident he's going to be very good. I'm excited about his ability to track or really find anything so I can't wait until summer when we get moving."

For all Frankie's loyalty to Erion (necessary in a good police dog) and his obvious skills and good temperament, Erion admits it's still hard to let go of Destro. He moves forward with mixed feelings.

"Certainly the best part of my career has been working with dogs, hands down," Erion said. "That's been the best thing. It's bittersweet. Destro is a great dog. I haven't even taken his name off the (patrol) car because I am unable to do that yet. I feel a little bit of guilt going on without him. But again, I'm excited about the new dog, too, because I see a lot of potential. I know the potential now. I didn't know that about Destro. I didn't know what we could do with my first dog but seeing where we can go with this is pretty exciting."

Previously: 'Destro' takes on new job with a dogged enthusiasm

The community contributed thousands of dollars to the Sheriff's Office K-9 fund after Destro died and those funds cover the purchase of Frankie and the cost of his training. Sheriff William Sheron's office sent out this press release (pdf) thanking donors and the pictures below.


Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr., Correction Officer Eric Wagner, Deputy Chris Erion, Chief Deputy Joseph Graff, NYSCOPBA Western Region Vice President Joe Miano.


Sheriff's Employee Association President/Sr. Correction Officer Kevin Wolff, Deputy Chris Erion, Sr. Correction Officer Pete Hoy.


Students from Elba Central School which hosted an Applebee's Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser for the K-9 fund.

October 28, 2018 - 9:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Destro, K-9, Sheriff's Office, news, Chris Erion.


Deputy Chris Erion talks with security staff from Genesee Community College during a community tribute gathering for his late partner, K-9 "Destro," who succumbed unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago from complications from a cancer surgery.

Erion plans to continue as a K-9 handler for the Sheriff's Office and plans are in place for the department to acquire another dog, hopefully by March so Erion and his new partner can begin training.

A number of fundraisers are planned around the community to help defray the costs of acquiring and training a new police dog. We will provide updates as details become available.

Photos submitted of Deputy Erion because I went to the tribute without realizing I didn't have any SD cards in my camera.


K-9 "Kye" from Medina PD.


Erion with a Genesee County dispatcher.

March 11, 2014 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9, Sheriff's Office, Destro, K-9 fund, Chris Erion.

Destro will do just about anything to get permission for a minute or two of play time while on the job -- sit and stay, chase a bad guy, search for a human scent, bark at a cornered criminal, find some dope.

If he were in the wild, it would be like any dog catching a rabbit and having a bit of fun with it before it became a snack. That's what dogs do, Deputy Chris Erion explained to a group of seventh- and eighth-grade students during a seminar on law enforcement at the 26th annual Genesee County Youth Conference at GCC.

Erion put Destro through his paces demonstrating common dog tricks such as sit, down and stay, and then had Destro chase after him a few feet and then bark at him as if he were a fleeing criminal suspect. Destro then found a marijuana sample hidden in the room.

After each task, Destro got to play with a tug with a small rubber ball attached, or he got to chew on his favorite toy -- an old piece of fire hose.

Erion recounted one of Destro's greatest law enforcement feats yet, finding a post-it note that had been used in an alleged armed robbery. The job well done really demonstrates Destro's ability to pick up human scents, Erion told the students.

After the demonstration, Erion shared information about a new Facebook page set up by the children of Deputy Brian Thompson to help raise funds to support the K-9 program.

"The care and maintenance for a police K-9 is above what it typically is for a household pet," Erion said. "Their teeth have to be regularly maintained. Often they break teeth -- he's broken a couple of teeth already that had to be fixed -- care, feeding, all those sorts of things go into the K-9 fund to support the dog."

There isn't a specific budget amount the K-9 fund is trying to raise. The goal is to maintain an ongoing source of revenue to help take care of Destro and Pharoah, who retires in October, when Thompson retires, though Erion believes it would be a good idea to maintain a fund balance of $5,000 to $10,000.

"Then, if something were to happen, we could handle that immediately," Erion said. "We could put a new dog and handler into the field immediately."

The Facebook page was set up by Thompson's daughters Olivia and Sophia. They also came up with the idea of an envelope fundraiser. People can send a message through Facebook requesting an available envelope -- once a numbered envelope is taken and returned, it's counted as "filled," so you'll need to pick a different number -- and they will receive the requested envelope to fill with a donation and return.

The goal is to raise $10,000. According to the page, $2,000 has already been raised.

"If you think about it, the only life (Thompson's) children have known is life with a police K-9," Erion said. "He's worked K-9 his entire career with the Sheriff's Office and before that. It's part of their life, just having a police K-9 in the house, and they came up with an idea for a fundraiser. I just think it speaks volumes about their character and Brian's character to have that thought to do that."

Since becoming a K-9 officer, Erion said he's really learned a lot about the generosity of the Genesee County community.

"This assignment has opened my eyes to a lot of good things in our community," Erion said. "There's a school right now (where) the whole school is working on a K-9 fundraiser and I've had other people approach me to find out how to go about raising funds."

Visit the Facebook page Genesee County NY K-9 Support and click "Like"

Above, Kyle Mott gets a chance to pet Destro.

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