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Copy of SFO Airport K9 Unit
Transcript of Copy of SFO Airport K9 Unit
Airport Explosive Detection
K9 Unit What role do the dogs play in transportation security? What role do the dogs play in transportation security? The TSA National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program is an effective, flexible tool used to detect explosives and deter terrorism in aviation, mass transit and cargo environments. Our teams are a mobile form of explosive detection that can be utilized in all areas of the transportation environment. There are hundreds of teams deployed nationwide based on current threats and a risk analysis. They can be deployed anywhere in the transportation system in minutes and are extremely accurate. Law enforcement officers from all over the country travel to TSA's Explosives Detection Canine Handler Course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas where they are paired with one of TSA's canine teammates . These dogs are bred specifically for the program by TSA's puppy program, also at Lackland AFB. German Shepherds, Belgian Malanoises, Vizslas and other types of dogs are used in the program because of their keen noses and affinity for this type of work. In addition to providing a highly trained dog and handler training, the TSA provides partial funding for handler salaries, care and feeding of the canines, veterinary and other costs associated with the dog once the teams return to their hometowns. There is a wide variety of scenarios that our teams are used in to include all the areas stated above, as well as any situations where specific threats involving explosives have been made. In addition to our duties at the airport, we work jointly with other federal agencies such as the Department of State and the Secret Service to search motorcades and political arenas for high profile political figures from around the world.
Our teams have been utilized to clear sports arenas, schools, office buildings as well as all areas of the airport environment. Once again the bomb dog's mobility and ability to identify the source of an explosive odor are critical elements in its operational use. The dogs are initially trained by the TSA Support Branch co-located at Lackland Air Force Base Texas through a conditioning model called "operant conditioning." This model is reward based where the dog is trained to "indicate or respond" to the location of an explosive odor.
When the dog responds correctly, it is given a reward that is of great value to the dog, such as a ball, kong, food or toy. The dog actually determines which reward it will receive. This association of explosive odor and reward (for correct responses) is done on a continual basis for hundreds of repetitions until the dog learns "the game". Our dogs are looking for a variety of explosive odors that they have been trained to detect.
Once the dog identifies the explosive odor, it responds accordingly. Recent scientific studies have indicated that the dog actually uses a "bouquet" of several different components of the explosive to make this determination. Our dogs respond in a "passive" manner.
When they identify the strongest concentration of explosive odor, they sit at that location. Our dogs receive a ball/kong/toy/food for identifying the correct location of an explosive and/or training device. In addition, the dog receives physical and verbal praise for it's successful find.
To the dog, detection work is merely a game of hide and seek. When the dog successfully finds the object (explosive odor) it is looking for, it receives a reward for its efforts. TSA's National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program prepares dogs and handlers to serve on the front lines of America's War on Terror. These very effective, mobile teams can quickly locate and identify dangerous materials that may present a threat to transportation systems. Just as important, they can quickly rule out the presence of dangerous materials in unattended packages, structures or vehicles, allowing the free and efficient flow of commerce. After dog and handler are paired up, the new team completes a rigorous 10-week course to learn to locate and identify a wide variety of dangerous materials while working as an effective unit. This training includes search techniques for aircraft, baggage, vehicles and transportation structures, as well as procedures for identifying dangerous materials and "alerting" or letting the handler know when these materials are present. The TSA National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program is an effective, flexible tool used to detect explosives and deter terrorism in aviation, mass transit and cargo environments. Our teams are a mobile form of explosive detection that can be utilized in all areas of the transportation environment. There are hundreds of teams deployed nationwide based on current threats and a risk analysis. They can be deployed anywhere in the transportation system in minutes and are extremely accurate.