ITD News
Associated Press
News Link

Boise Airport getting new security canine team

By John Masters

Boise is among a dozen cities that is getting some airport security. Twelve new explosive-detection canine teams are being deployed at airports around the country this Christmas.

Boise is one of 12 cities to get some additional airport security with a new canine team.

"We are proud of these 12 officers and their canine partners," said Michael Robinson with the Transportation Security Administration. "These teams will soon join the ranks of the federal law enforcement community's largest explosives detection canine program, which has helped keep our nation's airports and aviation system free of explosives for more than 30 years."

During training, officers were provided instruction on handler skills, explosives safety, and safe handling and accountability of explosives canine training aids.

They also spent much of their time searching for explosives in a specialized outdoor training area that includes six different types of airplanes or "classrooms" where teams check cockpits, cabins, and overhead storage bins for hidden explosives. The teams also practice searching luggage and a parking lot filled with cars, trucks, vans and buses.

TSA-certified explosives detection canine teams are stationed at each of the nation's largest airports. The TSA teams are acclimated to the unique characteristics of the airport and are the most reliable tool to search an aircraft for an explosive device.

Because canine teams combine excellent mobility with reliable detection rates, their use today has evolved to include searching areas in response to bomb threats associated with airport terminals and aircraft, luggage, cargo, vehicles, as well as serving as a proven deterrent to would-be terrorists or criminals.

Since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the number of canine teams available for airport duty has doubled to 300 working regularly at 64 of the nation's busiest airports. Plans call for expanding the program to 354 teams at 82 airports in 2004.

In addition to Boise, the canine teams are being assigned to airports in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Sacramento and San Francisco.