Security team trains 500th dog for explosives detection

Will air cargo loads routinely be screened by bomb-sniffing dogs? New York City-based security firm MSA Security is counting on it, as it announced this week that it has trained it 500th dog in the science of explosives detection at its Windsor facility in Connecticut.

Under what’s known as the Windsor Program, the human handler and trained canine are paired for life, MSA said, with both undergoing rigorous training – the animal to detect subtle odors given off by minute traces of different kinds of explosive residues, and the handler to pick up on cues given by the dog.

“We constantly refine our regimen to keep up with current threats, requiring teams undergo bi-monthly training at their work site and semi-annual training at one of our training facilities,” said Michael Wynn, director of canine training at MSA Security.

With the launch of the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program by U.S. Customs and Border Protection last month, MSA said it expects the need for explosive detection canines (EDC) to rise in the coming years as carriers and forwarder search for expensive and fast ways to screen large loads of air cargo at once.

The Windsor Program became the first EDC program to be certified by the Department of Homeland Security’s SAFETY Act in 2004. MSA’s dogs are the only animals trained using all five classes of commercial explosives, plus home-made explosives.

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