TSA at Burlington International Airport honors Cooper for many years of service

Local Press Release
Thursday, July 29, 2021
The TSA team at BTV will say farewell to their former teammate Cooper at a barbeque celebration on Thursday, August 5. (TSA Photo)

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Burlington International Airport (BTV) is gearing up to celebrate the career and retirement of Cooper, an explosive detection canine who has worked as a Passenger Screening Canine at BTV since 2017.

Cooper, who saw his last official duty day earlier this month, started his training at Auburn University’s Explosives Detection Puppy Program. He was then selected to attend a prison puppy program where inmates worked with him conducting basic obedience drills.

After a year of training, Cooper’s TSA career started at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) where he served for six years from 2011-2017. During his time at IAD, Cooper continued training to hone his skills conducting numerous demonstrations at local schools and various government offices while in Passenger Screening class with handler, Bob Banach. They were also selected to attend the U.S Marine Corps pre-deployment school at Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ.

Cooper and handler photo

In February 2017, Cooper and his handler transferred to Burlington International Airport (BTV) in South Burlington, Vermont. Cooper spent four years at BTV providing his skills to TSA’s security operation. This was in addition to the hundreds of hours Cooper trained to maintain his certification and keep his explosive detection capabilities sharp.

“Cooper may have hung up his leash for the final time, but the folks here at BTV won’t forget his contributions during his four years of service to security operations at Burlington International Airport,” said Bob Banach, TSA Explosives Detection Canine Handler. “We were fortunate to have had Cooper as a key member of our TSA team.”

During his 10-year career, Cooper screened close to half a million airport passengers, and conducted security operations at many national events across the country sniffing out potential threats to aviation security.

In retirement, Cooper, an 11-year-old yellow Labrador, will transition from being a working dog to being a pet with a very special set of skills. He’ll live at home with Bob and his wife, Patti, enjoying the water and their pontoon boat.