Sniffing out trouble

(CBS42)
(CBS42)

[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16x9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1367539528&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4042050&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1367539528 type=script]NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT) — They are on the front lines of our country’s defense when it comes to sniffing out trouble. Canines are taking a big role in sweeping areas where large crowds gather looking for any scent of explosives.

Studies show they can do the job better than any machine or human. “The Department of Defense has run two studies that I know of and they don’t have any man-made equipment that is better than detecting odors than a dog,” explains Ricky Farley who owns Alabama Canine Law Enforcement Officer’s Training Center in Northport. He got interested in this line of work as a boy, fascinated by a cousin’s dog and his tricks. While Farley knew this was his dream job, little did he know it would become so vital to fighting terrorism. “A dog of ours found a device in the Philippines. The remote pipe bomb, was meant to kill a public official.”

The 14 week training course gets the dogs ready for what they’ll encounter in the real world: checking cars, luggage, and other hiding places a terrorist may try to use to slip a bomb through. “Not every dog possesses the drive and character traits.” The dogs come from Europe where they are specially bred for those traits. The center has trained more than 500 dogs for use overseas and scores more here who are working border patrol, with state troopers and even in local communities like Tuscaloosa and Jefferson county.

The canines  stay on the job roughly eight years. Once retired, they become the officer’s family pet. The training doesn’t come cheap: about $10,000 dollars. Plus a special vehicle is needed for transporting the canines,  running about $50,000 dollars. But officers say you would be hard pressed to put a price tag, on a tool that could help avert something like the Boston bombing.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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