MINNEAPOLIS – The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that passenger screening canines (PSCs), which are trained to detect explosives and explosive components, are in use at security checkpoints at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).
Passengers departing MSP can expect to see the canines and their handlers at the airport. The canines are an additional layer of security and can be used to assist TSA with expediting the screening process for travelers at security checkpoints.
“These specially-trained canines are able to work around large crowds in a busy transportation environment to pinpoint the source of an explosive odor,” said Clifford Van Leuven, TSA Federal Security Director for the state of Minnesota. “We are pleased to add this additional security resource at MSP.”
TSA uses layers of security – both seen and unseen by the public – to protect passengers and the nation’s transportation system. PSCs are an effective tool in detecting explosives, which are known to be the greatest threat to the aviation system.
The canine teams assigned to MSP, which include a handler and a canine, have been through 12 weeks of intensive training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. After arriving at MSP, they underwent additional training and assessment to help the teams acclimate to the local airport environment. Teams are regularly tested and must maintain certification.
A handler is trained to read the dog’s behavior when it indicates an explosive scent has been detected. If a dog alerts its handler to something suspicious, there is an established procedure in place to resolve the alarm.
PSCs are sociable, but they are working canines so they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers. Nationwide, there are currently more than 150 PSC teams in use at airports across the country.