State-of-the-Art Facility Trains Dogs to Detect Explosives,
Drugs, and Currency
Front Royal, VA --- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF) Director Bradley A. Buckles and U.S. Customs Acting Commissioner
Charles W. Winwood today announced the completion of their respective
agencies' canine enforcement training facility in a joint dedication ceremony
held at the Customs Canine Enforcement Training Center. The state-of-the-art
facility is the first of its kind in federal law enforcement. Dogs trained
by ATF and Customs are used by law enforcement in the United States and
worldwide to assist in arson investigations and prevent explosive incidents,
search for narcotics and dangerous drugs, and detect currency.
"ATF's decision to locate their dog training efforts at the Customs
Canine Enforcement Training Center is a perfect example of interagency
cooperation," said Acting Commissioner Winwood. "The completion
of the new facility will allow both Customs and ATF to more efficiently
accomplish their missions."
Director Buckles said, "We've come a long way since training our
first arson dog in 1986. This beautiful new facility is a testament to
the progress and innovations we have made with our Canine Accelerant and
Explosives Detection Program. ATF owes a debt of gratitude for Customs'
support of our program."
The U.S. Customs Canine Enforcement Training Center occupies 250 acres
and accommodates 260 dogs in training. The center includes the ATF's 24,000
square-foot indoor training facility. Also located on the center grounds
are the U.S. Customs Breeding Program facility and a 14,000 square foot
academic building equipped with the latest in audio/visual equipment and
interpreters' booths for international training initiatives. U.S. Customs
and ATF maintain their own veterinary clinics and share outdoor exercise
and training areas such as a 150-car parking lot where dogs learn search
The combined U.S. Customs and ATF facilities are among the leading detector
dog training centers worldwide. Within the last ten years, U.S. Customs
has trained officers from over 51 foreign countries, while ATF has trained
officers from 12 foreign countries.
"Not only are U.S. Customs detector dogs instrumental in taking
millions of dollars of illegal drugs off the streets of America but, through
the Customs Project Outreach Program, they are also our best ambassadors
in teaching children nationwide the evils of drugs," said Winwood.
Each year, U.S. Customs and ATF will certify about 150 canines and handlers
for a variety of federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies.
Dogs trained at the ATF center have assisted security efforts at the Republican
and Democratic National Conventions, events related to the 50th anniversary
of NATO, the Columbine High School shooting, the National Governors' Conferences,
the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics, the Superbowl, and other high-profile