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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 15, 2021
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 and Los Angeles Field Division is hosting a three-day National Odor Recognition Testing (NORT) in Los Angeles for federal, state, local and military explosive-detection canine teams for those located throughout Southern California.

ATF’s National Canine Division instructors are providing free training to 23 Southern California law enforcement explosive-detection K-9 teams. NORT is a voluntary test to evaluate a canine team’s ability to detect 10 fundamental and commonly encountered explosive odors.

The absence of a national explosives detection canine proficiency standard led to legislative action by Congress, who directed ATF to develop a national standard. Congress has recognized NORT as the benchmark proficiency standardized test for effective canine explosives detection since 2005.

The teams are training at the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center. The training started Tuesday and lasts through Thursday.

About National Odor Recognition Testing

During the training and evaluation sessions, explosive-detection canine teams use NORT to identify gaps in training, 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 sessions, teams can elect to perform the official NORT single-blind test administered by ATF forensic chemists. Handlers are also imprinting and training their canines on homemade explosives (HME).

Even during the pandemic, ATF conducted 10 NORT sessions this year nationwide. So far, 353 teams have completed the test in fiscal year 2021. Since inception in September 2005, 4,687 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
• Federal Protective Service
• US Marshals Service
• Federal Reserve Police
• United States Coast Guard
• Los Angeles Police Department
• Santa Monica Police Department
• California Highway Patrol
• Inglewood Police Department
• Ventura Police Department
• Hermosa Beach Police Department
• Beverly Hills Police Department
• California State University Fullerton Police Department
• California State University Long Beach Police Department
• California State University Northridge Police Department
• California Highway Patrol
• UCLA Police Department
• San Diego State University Police Department

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

Los Angeles Field Division