ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today that it continues to expand its use of passenger screening canines, which are trained to detect explosives and explosive components, in security checkpoints across the country including Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC).
Passengers traveling this summer can expect to see canines and their handlers working at many airports. 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. This is one of the most effective tools TSA has to increase security while also cutting wait times at airports.
“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 TSA Alaska Federal Security Director Brian Cahill. “We are pleased that we have this additional layer of security in place at ANC.”
TSA uses layers of security – both seen and unseen by the public – to protect passengers and the nation’s transportation system. Passenger screening canines are an effective tool in detecting explosives, which are known to be the greatest threat to the aviation system.
Canine teams, which include a handler and a canine, have been through 12 weeks of intensive training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Once the canine team arrives at an airport, it undergoes additional training and assessment to help the team acclimate to the local airport environment. Teams are regularly tested and must maintain their 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.
Passenger screening canines 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 140 passenger screening canine teams in use at airports across the country. TSA continues to train canines in explosive detection so it can add to the existing number of passenger screening canines working across the country.
One of the ANC-based passenger screening canines is a five-year old male, yellow lab named Jjackman. He is named in memory of Brooke Jackman who died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Jackman, age 23, was working on the 104th floor of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center where she was employed as an assistant trader at Cantor Fitzgerald.