July 2, 2008
TSA Public Affairs:
WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced the certification of three new TSA canine teams to enhance explosives detection capabilities at Virginia's Dulles International Airport air cargo facilities.
The Dulles teams began training in January and graduated after a 10-week training course at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio. The teams have certified in their local environment and are now fully operational. The agency will train and certify more than 400 explosives detection canine teams, composed of one dog and one handler, during the next two years. Eighty-five of these teams will be TSA employee-led and will primarily search cargo bound for passenger-carrying aircraft.
"Canine teams are one of the quickest, most efficient means of detecting explosives" said John Lenihan, Dulles federal security director. "The three new TSA teams provide flexibility in searching air cargo and the ability to surge resources to other areas when necessary."
These TSA canine handlers are non-law enforcement employees and will complement the more than 500 TSA-certified state and local law enforcement teams currently deployed nationwide to 75 airports and 14 mass transit systems. The new teams will enhance explosive detection in the air cargo environment and allow TSA to deploy them anywhere in the transportation system in minutes when there is a heightened threat.
Additional TSA employee-led teams will be deployed to airports with the greatest volume of cargo on passenger-carrying aircraft later this year. These teams will raise the total TSA-certified canine explosive detection team population to more than 800 dogs from coast to coast in airports and mass transit systems.