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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Contact: Los Angeles Field Division

Federal, State & Local K-9 Teams Train on Explosive-Detection Skills

ATF Conducts NORT Training for Agencies

LOS ANGELES – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is hosting a three-day National Odor Recognition Testing (NORT) this week to state, federal and military explosive-detection canine teams from throughout Southern California.  


ATF’s National Canine Division lead instructors are in town to teach 33 Southern California military and law enforcement explosive-detection K-9 teams. NORT is a voluntary test to evaluate a canine team’s ability to detect 10 fundamental explosive odors. Congress has recognized NORT as the benchmark proficiency standardized test for effective canine explosives detection. The teams are at the U.S. Army Reserve Center (USARC) in Bell, California starting today.


About National Odor Recognition Testing

During the training and evaluation sessions, explosive-detection canine teams use NORT to identify gaps in training aids, learn about inadvertent training aid contamination, and practice odor detection in a professional training environment. NORT training also allows handlers to exchange information on trends and best practices with colleagues and ask questions of ATF canine and explosives subject matter experts. At the end of the training and practice session, teams can elect to perform the official NORT single-blind test administered by ATF.

ATF forensic chemists and canine/explosives subject matter experts will be available for face-to-face questions and answers. Canine teams are given unlimited opportunities to perform explosives odor recognition practical exercises (PE), which are designed to prepare teams to successfully complete the official NORT single-blind test administered by an ATF forensic chemist.  Finally, handlers are afforded opportunities to imprint and train their canines on homemade explosives (HME), including triacetonetriperoxide (TATP) and hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine (HMTD). 

ATF conducts about 12 NORT sessions a year nationwide for about 500 explosive-detection canine teams. So far, 111 teams have completed the test in fiscal year 2018. Since inception in September 2005, 3,269 federal, state, local and military canine teams have participated in NORT training.

ATF’s National Canine Division (NCD) is charged with training explosives, firearms and accelerant detection canines for federal, state, local and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies. ATF is the leading source of specially trained explosives-, firearms- and accelerant-detection canine teams. Once trained, the canine teams are assigned to local, state and other federal law enforcement agencies, as well as select foreign countries. The teams regularly lend support to investigations and security efforts.


Participating agencies:

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • Redondo Beach Police Department
  • Los Angeles Police Department
  • California State University Fullerton Police Department
  • Federal Protective Service
  • California Highway Patrol
  • Pasadena Police Department
  • Long Beach Police Department
  • California State University Northridge Police Department
  • Inglewood Police Department
  • U.S. Army
  • Los Angeles World Airports Police Department
  • Inglewood Police Department
  • University of California
  • Beverly Hills Police Department
  • Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department
  • Transportation Security Administration
  • West Covina Police Department
  • Torrance Police Department


To learn more about ATF and its K-9 program click on ATF K-9s.



Los Angeles Field Division