U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Dog Days of Detention

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 47 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2003 Pages: 48,50,52,54,55
Edward J. Seuter
Date Published
July 2003
5 pages
This article discusses the job scope, qualifications, selection, training, and support for canine bomb-detection teams.
Dog, with their superior sense of smell, can be trained to recognize a particular odor and alter their behavior when certain odors denoting specific substances are found. There are two primary methods for using explosives-detection canines in security management. The first is having a full-time canine team for facilities with a high level of risk. The second is the use of a response team for lower risk facilities. Both the private sector and law enforcement agencies may provide this service. A full-time dedicated team will be familiar with a particular site or sites, and the security manager will be familiar with the teams. Teams can be used proactively to screen deliveries, perform perimeter checks, evaluate abandoned packages, support dignitaries, and provide a high level of deterrence, Given the higher cost for a full-time team, lower risk sites can rely on using an outside service when a threat is suspected. Regardless of which approach is used, security managers should plan to meet and work with the team that will be used prior to an actual call for service. Crucial issues in the training of canine teams to detect explosives are the range of types of explosive scents to which the dog can respond, the weight ranges for explosives used in training, and the frequency with which materials are rotated in training. In testing the expertise of a canine team, security managers should not only have knowledge of training methods, but also stage tests in which the security manager hides materials with a scent to be detected. Although a team may be certified under one of numerous certification programs, it is important for security managers to examine the criteria for certification and whether the criteria are relevant to the security needs of the site to be secured.