Dec. 29--The Tulsa International Airport now has four bomb-sniffing dogs stationed around its facility. The fourth dog, an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois named Iwan, graduated from training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio earlier this month.
Iwan is one of 12 new members of the Transportation Security Administration's National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program.
Other dogs in the team will be assigned to airports in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Phoenix and mass transit systems in Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Locally, the dogs are handled by Tulsa Police Department officers, according to officials at the Tulsa airport. During training, officers were provided instruction on handler skills, explosives safety and safe handling. The teams also spent much of their time searching for explosives in specialized indoor and outdoor training labs that include an aircraft fuselage, a terminal area and a cargo warehouse. The teams also practiced searching luggage and a parking lot filled with cars, trucks, vans and buses.
Once the teams return to their airports and mass transit systems, they will undergo several hours of proficiency training each week that includes all the odors and distractions associated with these busy environments. Within the next few months, the teams also will undergo a rigorous on-site certification process.
TSA-certified explosives detection canine teams are stationed at more than 70 of the nation's largest airports and will soon be located at 10 of the nation's largest mass transit systems.
The other dogs at the Tulsa airport include Romeo, a 9-year-old black Labrador, Aran, a 4-year-old golden retriever and Kalu, a 5-year-old German shepherd.