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
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
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.