ROCHESTER, N.Y.—There’s a new dog in town. Her name is Lola and she is the latest addition to the explosives detection canine team working at the Greater Rochester International Airport as part of a partnership between the Transportation Security Administration, the airport and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
German shepherd Lola and her handler, a Monroe County sheriff’s deputy, recently completed nearly three months of training at TSA’s National Canine Training Center in San Antonio, Texas. Now they are back in town working to keep travelers safe and join two other canine teams who already work at the airport.
TSA trains and deploys both TSA-led and state and local law enforcement-led canine teams in support of day-to-day activities that protect the transportation domain.
These highly trained explosives detection canine teams have proven to be a reliable resource at detecting explosives. They also provide a visible deterrent to terrorism directed toward transportation systems. TSA trains canine teams to operate in the aviation, multimodal, maritime, mass transit, and cargo environments.
TSA’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program is the largest explosives detection canine program in the Department of Homeland Security and the second largest in the federal government, behind the Department of Defense.
The majority of canine teams working in the aviation environment are comprised of a dog and a local or state law enforcement officer. The three dogs in Rochester include two German shepherds and one German short-haired pointer. The canine handlers and dogs are part of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office; however all of the canines were paid for by TSA. TSA pays for and trains the dog, trains the handler, provides training aides and explosive storage magazines, and conducts annual on-site canine team re-certifications.
TSA partially reimburses the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for operational costs associated with maintaining the teams. In return, the sheriff’s office has agreed to use the canines at the airport for at least 80 percent of the handler’s duty time.
It is a true partnership.