If you live in or are traveling through a major U.S. city today, expect to see more working dogs on the way to your destination.
After a series of terrorist attacks in Brussels earlier this morning, including two explosions at the airport and one in the subway, which have left at least 34 people dead and many more injured, various cities in the United States are increasing police and K-9 presence.
This morning in Washington, D.C., explosive-detection K-9s were brought in to sweep the Metro, although police reported there was “no known, specific, or credible threat.”
No known, specific or credible threat to Metro at this time. Additional K9 sweeps + patrols starting this AM as precaution. #wmata— Metro Transit Police (@MetroTransitPD) March 22, 2016
Both airports in the D.C. area, Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport, also deployed bomb-sniffing K-9s, CNN reported.
In New York City, officers “deployed to crowded areas and transit locations around the city out of an abundance of caution to provide police presence and public reassurance as we closely follow the developing situation overseas,” said a statement by the NYPD, which included a photo of officers and a K-9 at the Times Square subway station.
Miami International Airport has likewise increased K-9 presence, according to NBC News, which tweeted a video of the heightened security.
Furthermore, Los Angeles County sheriff's transit police and K-9 unit did a sweep of the busy Union Station this morning, according to deputy Mike Barraza in the LA Times. The newspaper also captured a photo of an airport police officer and his canine partner patrolling the Los Angeles International Airport earlier this morning.
Dogs trained in detecting explosives are used in police units, the military, the Transportation Security Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), within the Department of Justice, and other organizations.
High levels of training and task-specific breeding have led them to be extremely effective at locating potential threats. For instance, dogs trained with the ATF are able to sniff out as many as 19,000 different scents, which include smokeless power in firearms and shell casings as well as chemicals used in both traditional explosives and homemade explosives (HMEs). Read more about the ATF dogs here.
“We try to stay a few steps ahead of the bad guy,” says John Ryan, ATF’s National Canine Division Chief. “We work with our intelligence community and provide classroom training by our chemists so that we can determine what the latest explosive trends are and imprint the dogs with those scents.”
Also, earlier this year, the TSA reported that it is increasing the presence of explosive-detection dogs at more than 35 airports in the United States.