First canine security company certified for air cargo screening [VIDEO]

After much anticipation, the use of canines to detect security threats in air cargo is now officially in effect, with the recent program launch of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s Certified Cargo Security Program on Thursday, Nov. 1. Under the program, organizations can certify a private-sector Explosive Detection Canine Team to screen air cargo for carriers.

Cargo Screening K9 Alliance LLC (CSK9) became the very first company to certify last week, under the new regulatory standards for canines.

Spectrum Canine, a TSA-sanctioned evaluator and supplier of working dogs and handlers, sent a team to CSK9’s Anniston, Alabama training center to evaluate CSK9’s canines’ ability to detect minute explosive odors hidden within complex cargo configurations. The process of unpalletizing freight in order to thoroughly check it takes three to nine minutes and multiple employees; with a canine, it takes only about 20 seconds.

“I would say that, after placing the teams through a rigorous assessment, the Cargo Screening K9 Alliance has set the bar high, rising to the occasion of being the first successful teams ever to pass these standards,” said Frank Schembre, president of Spectrum Canine.

Watch a recent interview with Paul Hammond, president of the Cargo Screening K9 Alliance below:

In March, the U.S. House of Representatives signed off on legislation that will permit the cargo industry to hire third-party security canines to be used as a screening option within the cargo environment. The TSA established the Certified Cargo Security Program – Canine (CSSP-K9) to “provide an efficient and effective method for screening air cargo to TSA standards.”

Dogs have been utilized in cargo security since the early 1970s. The TSA has deployed them since 2008 to screen baggage and, since 2011, to screen passengers. This news marks its expansion into the airfreight sector, and could be both a time and cost-saver for carriers passing security screening at airports.

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