SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Tuesday introduced two explosive detection canines who will be working in the security checkpoint queue at Sacramento International Airport (SMF). The canines will work with handlers from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD) during key times to supplement existing passengers screening operations.
Passenger Screening Canines (PSCs) are trained to detect explosives and explosive materials in a busy transportation environment. They work with a handler searching travelers and their belongings in the security checkpoint and assist with the efficiency and effectiveness of TSA’s screening protocols.
“TSA is pleased to partner with canine handlers from SCSD who will assist us in carrying out an important and visible role in our security operations at SMF,” said Sid Hanna, TSA Federal Security Director at SMF. “Travelers departing SMF will not only see the canines working in the security checkpoint, but benefit from this additional layer of security at the airport.”
“The Airport is thrilled to continue working with TSA to expand the Passenger Screening Canine program at Sacramento International,” says Cindy Nichol, Sacramento County Department of Airports Director. “The addition of these dogs at the security checkpoint will provide an added benefit to passengers flying though SMF.”
Passengers departing SMF will see PSC teams working around travelers. The teams capably navigate among large groups of people to pinpoint the source of an explosive odor, even if the source is mobile and often without the source being aware it is being tracked. The SCSD canine handlers have received additional training so they can detect their dog’s change of behavior when it indicates an explosive scent has been detected in the security checkpoint.
If a dog alerts its handler to the presence of explosive odor, TSA follows an established procedure to resolve the alarm. The use of these highly trained canines is an effective tool in deterring and detecting the introduction of explosive devices into the nation’s transportation systems.
Because explosives are known to be the greatest threat to the aviation system, PSCs are regularly tested to ensure they maintain a high standard of operational effectiveness. This continual training allows for all teams to be a reliable resource in detecting an explosive threat, maintaining proper acclimation within the airport, and mitigating potential distractions in a busy transportation environment.
Currently, TSA has more than 400 PSC teams that work primarily at airports across the country. PSCs are sociable, but they are working dogs and they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers.