ATLANTA — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) announced today the addition of passenger screening canines, or PSCs, at the airport. These canine teams will be used to locate potential threats to aviation security at the airport’s security checkpoints.
The two newest canine teams arrived in Atlanta last week after completing initial training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The teams will spend the next few months training and acclimating to their new homes and airport. Once the certification process is complete later this year, these teams will be permanently assigned to the airport.
TSA passenger screening canines are trained to “sniff out” explosives and the components used to make them. If discovered, the canines alert instantly. The canines also are used to assist TSA with expediting the screening process for travelers at the checkpoint.
“Using PSCs at checkpoints adds an additional layer of security,” said TSA Atlanta Canine Supervisor Anthony Jones. “When active, a team can screen more than 400 passengers in an hour, allowing many of them the opportunity to receive expedited screening with no reduction in the level of security being provided.”
TSA uses layers of security as part of an intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to protecting passengers and the nation’s transportation systems. Each layer alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack, but in combination, defenses compound to create a much stronger system. PSCs add an extra layer of security, which enables TSA to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way.
TSA officials at ATL estimate that the new canine teams will be ready to screen passengers at any of the airport’s six security checkpoints beginning in late 2014.
TSA Atlanta currently has eleven canine teams assigned to the airport, with a primary focus on cargo screening. Currently, more than 970 TSA canine teams are working at airports nationwide.