Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

FY 06-05

Contacts: Donna J. Sellers/Sheree L. Mixell


For Immediate Release

April 12, 2006



Join Alumni From 14 Other Countries

FRONT ROYAL, Va. – Eight canine students from the Royal Thai Police and six from state and local fire and police departments in the United States graduated today from the Canine Training Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). These new graduates join more than 450 police officers from 14 foreign countries and the United States to complete the premier explosives detection canine training program.

The graduates completed 10 weeks of training with an explosives detection canine. ATF provides each student with a Labrador retriever dog that completes the training with its handler and is then assigned to accompany the handler back home where they will serve as a team.

ATF’s Explosives Detection Canine Course, begun in 1990 in conjunction with the State Department’s Office of Anti-Terrorism, has trained 482 teams since its inception. They are currently deployed throughout the United States and in 19 foreign countries, including Iraq, where they assist in counter-terrorism missions and critical infrastructure protection.

“My commendations for a great training program,” said Police Maj. Veenawat Sriyam, the Thai team leader. “This training will help us improve our knowledge and expertise on the job and is a great opportunity for our police force. We appreciate the great training and want to thank all the ATF personnel providing the training, and the U.S. State Department for this great opportunity.”

The Royal Thai Police join foreign alumni from Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Poland, Qatar and South Africa who have graduated from the ATF program. Today’s graduating class also included students from the Arlington and Lewisville, Texas, fire departments, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, University of Reno, Nev., police department, and Fairfax County, Va., police department.

The ATF instructors train the dogs, which are recertified on an annual basis, to be able to recognize and locate 19,000 explosives compounds. They also teach basic detection search of post-blast explosives scenes; vehicle, building and aircraft searches; and open-area searches for weapons and shell casings.

Building on lessons learned in its own highly successful program, ATF has begun to implement national odor recognition testing as part of a scientifically validated program. The testing will help to test and train explosives detection canines used by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure that the dogs are fully capable of detecting a wide variety of explosive odors commonly used in attacks around the world.

In addition to its counter-terrorism mission, ATF uses its own canine teams as well as ATF-trained federal, state and local canine teams to support public safety in the United States at large events such as Presidential Inaugurations, the G-8 summit, Super Bowl and other major sports events.

ATF is the Department of Justice’s lead agency for training explosives detection canines. The explosives detection canine training is part of the extensive explosives, firearms and arson training that the Bureau provides to U.S. and foreign law enforcement. In addition to the training offered in the United States, ATF currently provides explosives training to the Iraqi Police Service, and offers ongoing explosives and firearms training at the four International Law Enforcement Academies maintained by the State Department in El Salvador, Hungary, Botswana and Thailand.

More information on ATF and its programs is at