MINNEAPOLIS – In what is projected to be the busiest day ever for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP), the agency showcased one of its key assets that it will utilize to keep travelers safe and secure leading up to and in the days after Super Bowl LII.
Twenty Passenger Screening Canines (PSC), which are specially trained to detect explosives and explosive components, and their handlers are being used to expedite the screening process for travelers departing MSP. Some of the teams work regularly at MSP while others have come from airports in the Midwest to support MSP’s Super Bowl LII activities.
“Passenger screening canines are able to work in large crowds in a busy transportation environment and can pinpoint the source of an explosive odor,” said Cliff Van Leuven, TSA federal security director for the state of Minnesota. “We are thrilled to add this additional layer of security during what is guaranteed to be a peak travel period at MSP.”
TSA projects that on Monday, Feb. 5, it will screen up to 69,000 people through the security checkpoint. This includes fans who traveled to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII as well as local residents. By comparison, TSA screens an average of 34,000 travelers on a typical day.
TSA’s use of passenger screening canines significantly impacts the efficiency of the security screening process. These canines are trained to work in a busy transportation environment, using their keen sense of smell when working in and around travelers and their belongings. Passengers departing MSP should expect to see passenger screening canines working in the security checkpoint, making travelers eligible for TSA Pre✓® and expedited screening.
Passenger screening canines are able to navigate among large groups of people to pinpoint the source of an explosive odor, often without the source being aware and even if the source is mobile. The canine handlers are 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, TSA follows an established procedure to resolve the alarm. The use of these canines are an effective tool in detecting explosives, which are known to be the greatest threat to the aviation system.
Passenger screening canines are regularly tested to ensure they maintain excellent scent capabilities. While they are sociable, they are working canines so they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers.