Arlington Explosive Detection Canine Unit

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Arlington Fire Department is open to the second-largest explosive detection canine unit in North Texas behind DFW Airport. The seven Labradors don't just work in Arlington. (Published Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013)

    They look like regular dogs. But can a regular dog sniff out 19,000 different explosive chemicals?

    The Arlington Fire Department Bomb Squad's specially trained labs are trained to do just that.
    “You can’t beat the nose. They can smell what we can't see. They can pick up an odor distances away,” said Darin Niederhaus with AFD’s Bomb Squad.
    The team of seven dogs sweeps cars, buildings and venues like Cowboys Stadium and Rangers Ballpark for major events or when high profile dignitaries are in attendance in search of bombs and firearms.
    The dogs can pick up the scent of anything from shell casings to high explosives.
    “Around the world explosives and IEDs are becoming more prominent these guys give us the ability to pick them up prior to ever getting into large crowds,” said Niederhaus.
    The newest addition to the unit is a yellow lab named Jasper. He is a vapor wake detection dog -- trained to ID potential suicide bombers.
    “[Jasper] has a stronger nose than most explosive detection K-9s and he can detect moving scents through the air,” said Niederhaus.
    “Training never stops. Training is ongoing. We have to keep the dogs fresh on the odors, different scenarios, different venues. We try to get them everything we can so that way it's never our first time going in there,” added Niederhaus.
    The dogs run the city about $130,000 - that covers everything from the training to the vehicles they come in.
    The city has the second-largest explosive detection canine unit in north Texas.