National Canine Division

ATF’s National Canine Division is the leading federal authority for explosives and accelerant detection canines for law enforcement and military organizations. It was established in 1996 to support a variety of high-risk law enforcement operations, including bomb, arson, explosives and gun investigations as well as the more traditional protective search and sweep responsibilities.

This program is the world’s only scientifically based canine detection program solely operated by law enforcement. ATF-trained canines are capable of detecting 19,000 different explosive compounds. 

Special Agent Canine Handler Grace Reisling and K-9 Charlie Pioneering Leadership

In the mid-nineties, ATF leaders asked Special Agent Grace Reisling to serve as the leader of the bureau’s pilot canine explosives detection program. During her tenure, she made history as ATF’s first special agent canine handler. Her trailblazing work included the creation of new canine detection methodologies, protocols and standards that continue to be used by law enforcement and military organizations today. 

Tactical Training Programs 

ATF conducts explosives detection, accelerant detection and Search Enhanced Evidence K-9 (S.E.E.K.) training programs at the Canine Training Center located in Front Royal, Virginia. Once trained, canine teams are assigned to local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies, where they regularly lend support to investigations and national level security efforts.

ATF Search Enhanced Evidence K-9 Training Congress also recognized ATF’s National Odor Recognition Testing Standard (NORT) annual canine test as a nationally recognized proficiency standard used as a benchmark for effective canine explosives detection. 



Last Reviewed October 29, 2020