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Criminal Justice

Explosive-Sniffing Dogs Go On Duty Soon At San Antonio Airport

Explosives sniffing dogs.jpg
San Antonio International Airport
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New dog handling teams pose at airport.

Four teams of explosive-sniffing dogs go on duty at San Antonio International Airport as early as this fall, according to a joint announcement by airport officials and the Transportation Security Administration.

Airport officials said the dogs and their handlers were trained at the TSA canine facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland over a period of 12-16 weeks.

Several congressmen, along with airport and city officials, have worked for years to bring this program to San Antonio.

"The magnitude of this agreement will positively impact the airport, travelers and the community as well. The Passenger Screening Canines add an enhanced level of security to our operation," said Jesus H. Saenz, Jr., director of the San Antonio Airport System.

There are more than 1,000 TSA canine teams allocated to cover airports, mass transit systems and maritime systems across the U.S., and they have become the most effective and efficient way to detect explosive materials, according to a news release.

TSA uses a variety of canine breeds for explosive detection, and they must pass strict standards to ensure they possess the health, temperament and critical characteristics essential to being able to handle stressful explosive detection work.

“The TSA canine program is a great example of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working together to protect the travelling public,” said Jesus Presas, TSA Federal Security Director for the San Antonio International Airport. "I am proud to welcome Passenger Screening Canine teams to San Antonio, and I stand with our partners, and look forward to continued cooperation with our airport teams and the travelling public to make every passenger's experience a safe and positive one."

Airport officials said the dogs may look friendly, but the public is asked not to distract them as they work to keep our airport safe. The teams are trained to seamlessly maneuver through crowds sniffing for explosive odors on passengers and their luggage. If the dog alerts its handler to the presence of an explosive, the TSA will follow established procedures to inspect and resolve the alarm.

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