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Fact Sheet - National Canine Division

May, 2018
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Fast Facts

  1. ATF National Canine Division trains explosives and accelerant detection canines for federal, state, local and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies.

  2. Since 1990, ATF has trained approximately 919 explosives detection canines and 253 accelerant detection canines.

  3. NCD Search Enhanced Evidence K-9 (S.E.E.K) program currently has 21 teams working throughout the U.S.

Purpose

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) National Canine Division (NCD) trains explosives and accelerant detection canines for federal, state, local and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies.
    
Mission

In 1984, ATF developed the explosives detection canine program to combat the explosives threat in the U.S. and abroad. ATF began a joint program with the U.S. Department of State Antiterrorism Assistance Program to train canines capable of detecting a greater variety of explosives than those under existing programs in 1990. Congress recognizes the National Odor Recognition Testing Standard (NORT) used by ATF as the standard for effective canine explosives detection.

 

image_of_dog_sniffing_carMobility gives canines a greater advantage over fixed detection equipment that terrorists are able to bypass when placing a bomb or smuggling explosives. 

 

ATF continues to introduce innovative programs such as explosives detection canines on homemade explosives (HME) to combat terrorism.

 

Since 1990, ATF has trained approximately 919 explosives detection canines, 253 accelerant detection canines and trained canine teams for 22 international countries. Imprinted approximately 3,793 Department of Defense military working dogs on HME from March 2009 through December 2017.

 

NCD established the ATF Search Enhanced Evidence K-9 (S.E.E.K) program in 2013 and currently has 21 teams. S.E.E.K canines can work independently at greater distances in a variety of circumstances and possess the same detection capabilities as ATF’s current explosives detection canines. S.E.E.K teams help to support to the ATF mission and support criminal investigations involving violent crimes.

  
ATF Resources

ATF’s National Canine Center consists of two facilities located in Front Royal, VA One is a 20,000-square-foot climate controlled building used for year-round training and includes office space. The second is a 25,000-square-foot kennel that can accommodate 100 canines and uses the latest technology in kennel design.

Authority

Aug. 11, 2004, the Office of the Attorney General issued a “Memorandum Regarding the Coordination of Explosives Investigations and Related Matters.” This memorandum outlines the coordination of explosives investigations by DOJ law enforcement components. Item number 20 of this memorandum reads, “As soon as practicable, all Department components that use explosives detection canines shall use only canines certified by ATF.” 

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Additional Resources: K-9 (S.E.E.K) program

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