TSA Canine Training Center Hosts European Delegation to Enhance Global Transportation Security

Friday, April 26, 2024
European Civil Aviation Conference members with TSA Canine representatives (TSA Photo)

The TSA Canine Training Center (CTC) in San Antonio, Texas, hosted the European Civil Aviation Conference’s (ECAC) Detection Dog Study Group as part of a collaborative effort to enhance transportation security across Europe through the use of explosives detection canines.

The event was designed to exchange strategies and strengthen partnerships between U.S. and European allies. The delegation of aviation security and canine detection experts engaged in comprehensive dialogues aiming to fortify global transportation security by sharing knowledge and resources. 

TSA Training Instructor Solomon Day with a canine at the TSA Canine Training Center (TSA photo)
TSA Training Instructor Solomon Day with a canine at the TSA Canine Training Center (TSA photo)

During the visit, attendees placed a significant emphasis on information sharing as a cornerstone of effective security measures. Participants represented Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The European contingent received a mission briefing from CTC Director Zeb Polasek, Canine Capabilities Manager Pat Yeoman, Third Party Cargo Director Brian Thayer, and National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program Canine Coordinator Jeremy Hall.

They spent the rest of their time in San Antonio touring the CTC; observing basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of canine training; and participating in canine demonstrations from the CTC, San Antonio International Airport, and the Department of Defense.

Joost Rooijacker, a policy advisor from the Netherlands Ministry of Justice and Security, assessed existing information sharing protocols and explored the possibility of new measures to ensure timely and secure exchanges of data.

ECAC members watch a Department of Defense (TSA Mission Partner) canine in action. (TSA photo)
ECAC members watch a Department of Defense (TSA Mission Partner) canine in action. (TSA photo)

“The TSA is looked upon very favorably within Europe, specifically when it comes to detection canines and how they are utilized,” Rooijacker said. “We feel the TSA sets the standard for the world with clearly defined training requirements and decision managed utilization in the field.”

By analyzing past incidents and current threats, the study group aimed to establish a more resilient network where critical information could flow seamlessly between governments, enabling proactive rather than reactive measures within the transportation security infrastructure.

TSA and the ECAC agreed that strengthening ties between the different partnering countries specific to aviation security, including cargo screening, is essential for developing a cohesive response to potential threats. TSA’s Third Party Canine-Cargo Program is leading the charge on cargo screening and took the lead in Houston, Texas, for ECAC’s last day in the U.S. There, the Europeans observed a covert test of a Certified Cargo Screening canine team to display TSA’s high standards.

The five days the ECAC spent in the U.S. are expected to help contribute to robust security measures, ultimately safeguarding the public and the integrity of transportation systems throughout most of Europe.

“The week culminated in an ongoing commitment to shared objectives and promises a progressive advancement in our collective security posture,” said Dan Whidby, CTC Training Instructor and Operations Support Coordinator. “The collaboration makes transportation not only safer, but also more efficient in the face of evolving threats.” 

From TSA Strategic Communications and Public Affairs