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Fact Sheet - Special Response Team (SRT) K-9 Program

May, 2018
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Fast Facts

  1. The ATF Special Response Team K-9 Program employs hand-picked  K-9s and handlers trained in areas that support the SRT mission to reduce violent crime and protect the public.

  2. In 2000, the first full-time K-9 team successfully completed an 8-week training program, which culminated in the certification of the first SRT K-9, Boomer, as a “patrol” dog.

  3. There are 10 SRT-trained tactical K-9 teams throughout the country with ATF special agents, who are also SRT operators, acting as the handlers.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Special Response Team (SRT) K-9 Program employs hand-picked K-9s and handlers trained in areas that support the SRT mission to reduce violent crime and protect the public. The primary goal of the SRT tactical K-9 program is to provide each SRT with an additional tool to locate and/or apprehend violent criminals.

The K-9 teams, made up of a K-9 and an ATF special agent who is also part of the SRT program, are trained and certified in the following six areas:

  • Obedience
  • Building search
  • Area search
  • Tracking
  • Evidence search
  • Aggression control
     

In 2000, the first full-time K-9 team successfully completed an 8-week training program, which culminated in the certification of the first SRT K-9, Boomer, as a patrol dog. It has since evolved because of the formal institution of a thoroughly vetted and tested training lesson plan and maintenance training program implemented for the entirety of a K-9’s working life. 

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Ga., was established as the primary training site for the SRT K-9 Teams. Training at FLETC offers thousands of acres of secured tracking areas, more than 40 buildings of varied floor plans for building search training, an explosives range for neutrality to gunfire training, a counterterrorism training center used for both tracking and building searches (including small crawl spaces and attics), and secure indoor and outdoor obedience training locations. The SRT K-9 teams also routinely train with other Federal and military K-9 teams throughout the country.

There are 10 SRT-trained tactical K-9 teams throughout the country with ATF special agents who are also SRT operators acting as the handlers. These dogs and their handlers are assigned to SRTs based in the following core cities:

  • Detroit
  • Washington, DC
  • Miami
  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles

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