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Program Adds TSA Pooches to Airport Patrol
Herschel J. Grangent, Jr.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced a new program that uses dogs to enhance explosive detection capabilities at air cargo facilities nationwide, including Hartsfield-Jackson.

The program’s launch marks the first time TSA is training its own employees to be explosive detection canine handlers.

TSA will train and certify more than 400 explosives detection canine teams, composed of one dog and one person, during the next two years. Eighty-five of the teams will be TSA employee-led and will primarily search cargo loaded on passenger aircraft. The first TSA teams began training in January and graduated earlier this month after a 10-week training course. The teams are expected to be fully operational by the summer, which is when Hartsfield-Jackson’s teams will be deployed.

Program Adds TSA Pooches to Airport Patrol
Dog Handler and explosives detection canine searching air cargo. (Courtesy of TSA)

Just like at other airports, TSA handlers at Hartsfield-Jackson will be non-law enforcement employees who will complement existing Atlanta Police canine teams. The new TSA teams will also allow TSA to add search resources when there is a heightened threat anywhere in an Atlanta cargo facility.

“We are certainly pleased to have the TSA K-9 teams at Hartsfield-Jackson,” said Robert Kennedy, assistant general manager of operations, maintenance and security for Hartsfield-Jackson. “Working with the Atlanta Police Department’s Airport precinct, the new TSA K-9 teams will enhance our security measures in the Airport’s cargo operations and elsewhere.”

Program Adds TSA Pooches to Airport Patrol
Dog Handler and explosives detection canine searching air cargo container. (Courtesy of TSA)

In addition to the TSA teams, approximately 315 TSA-certified local law enforcement teams will be trained and deployed during the next two years, raising the total TSA-certified canine explosive detection team population to more than 800 dogs nationwide. Complementing daily activities at airports and mass transit systems, law enforcement teams also participate in TSA’s Visible Intermodal Protection Response (VIPR) program providing critical capabilities and resources.

“Canine teams are one of the quickest, most efficient means of detecting explosives,” said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. “TSA teams provide flexibility in searching air cargo and the ability to surge resources when necessary.”

© 2008 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.


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