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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

March 12, 2008


Contact: Todd Reichert / Tom Cramer

(202) 648-8500

Seven Canine Teams Graduate From ATF Canine Training Center

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)graduated a new class of canine handlers today at its Canine Training Center in Front Royal, Va.The ceremony was the culmination of an intensive, 10-week training course completed byfederal officers from the CIA, Department of Defense, U.S. Marshals Service and the FederalProtective Service, in which ATF canine trainers spent six weeks “imprinting” the dogs, givingthem the capability to locate 19,000 explosive odors - including peroxide-based explosives.

These handlers and their ATF-trained canine partners will be deployed throughout theWashington, D.C. metropolitan area and other parts of the country, where they will be used forcriminal investigations, protective search and sweep operations, and safeguarding national specialevents such as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, G-8 summits, the WorldSeries and the Super Bowl. A major advantage of canines is their mobility, a significantimprovement over fixed detector installations that can be circumvented by a terrorist placing abomb or smuggling explosives.

These dedicated students have been training for seven-days-a-week since Jan. 7, notedATF Acting Director Michael Sullivan. They and their highly-trained canine partners are nowprepared to use their skills to protect the public and prevent terrorism.

The handlers and their canines train extensively together for 10 weeks, learning how tosearch out explosives in vehicles, schools, train stations, concert venues, warehouses and retailstores. The dogs can also detect firearms and ammunition. Prior to graduation, each canine mustpass an odor recognition test with 100 percent accuracy. This certification test is conducted by aforensic chemist using the National Odor Recognition Test developed by ATF.

ATF trains approximately 90 new canine teams each year and places them, without cost, withlocal, state, federal or foreign law enforcement agencies. Teams are recertified each year andreceive continuous support from ATF throughout the approximate eight-year working life of thedogs.

The ATF Canine Training Center and kennel are located in Front Royal. The 14,000-squarefoottraining building allows for climate-controlled, year-round training and has office space forsupport personnel. The state-of-the-art kennel facility can accommodate 100 canines andincorporates the latest technology in kennel design.

More information on ATF’s Explosives Detection Canine Program can be found at