Vapor Wake A Proactive Advance In Explosives Detection

Its the unknown and these dogs are your first line of defense. Thats a quote from a video produced by Amtraks Police Department about canine teams and their part in making the railways safe. In answer to the unknown, the rash of threats, and attempted and successful suicide bombings world-wide, Amtrak is one of the few agencies with a new canine on patrol leveling the playing field against todays terrorists. Vapor Wake Detection Canines, trained to sniff the air, are being produced as part of the Canine Detection Research Institutes (CDRI) program at Auburn University in Alabama. According to the universitys web site, the Vapor Wake Detection (VWD) Canine Team is a standard explosives detection canine team with additional abilities and training to detect carried or body-worn explosives. The VWD canine samples the plume of air coming off a person and/or what they are carrying as the person passes through a choke point or within a crowd. The canine can also detect an explosives wake after a person has transited an area and follow the vapor wake to the explosive source. These are the Michael Jordans of canines, says Inspector William Parker, Commander of the Amtrak Police Canine Program. Advertisements used to say, Be like Mike. Well, everyone with dogs wants to be like Amtrak. Amtrak currently is home to 14 of these teams that ride the rails from coast to coast aiming to deter an attack on the nations train system. Has Amtrak been successful in deterring an attack? Without a documented attack or plan on record, Parker surmised, the only assumption to be made is that they have been successful in deterrence by the proactive use of both vapor and traditional explosives detection canine (EDC) teams. He maintains, officers are visible on the trains, in the stations and in locations where suspects may assume there is little patrol. Inspector Parker has been working with canines for over 33 years and has been integral in bringing awareness to the Vapor Wake Detection program out of Auburn University to agencies, such as Washington, DC Capital Police and the New York Police Department. They are both reportedly using these dogs out of the CDRI in their arsenal to fight terrorism. TSA has taken notice, says Parker. After having done several demonstrations for the Transportation Security Administration and other organizations, they have gathered the support needed, he indicated, to add this protocol to their much maligned screening process in the airports. Support is what is most important when embarking on training such as this. Its more than just being able to spend the money to invest in the education. Costs are in the tens of thousands of dollars, but you also must find the right candidate for the program, have the ability to care for and house the dog, as well as provide the tools and environment for daily training. It is a multi-level undertaking with the agency having the ability to house licensed explosives, provide veterinary care and a facility to train. Aftercare also includes keeping in touch with Auburn University after graduation . After the team has been in place for at least 30 days, we will visit the team and work with them for two weeks of training to ensure the proficiency we observed in the training environment has successfully transferred into the operational environment. After that, we provide free telephone/media consultation or free assistance at our location. Additionally, we must re-certify the team annually, said John Pearce, Associate Director of Auburns Canine Detection Research Institute, in an interview for this article. Auburn University recently won top honors in college football and that team will find themselves in the cross-hairs of their competition next year. The same can be said for the schools Vapor Wake Detection Program, which is undergoing a process to patent and copyright their technology. This is primarily to protect the technology, said Pearce. This will prevent someone from calling their product vapor wake. There is a lot of hard work that went into the development of this technology. And it is very manpower intensive and hard work. Because of this, we want to protect the technology from misrepresentation and receiving a bad reputation from someone not properly representing the technology. Our goal is not to be the biggest [dog training program]. Our goal is to be the best at training detector dogs for basic and special applications and educating handlers and managers, which is most often overlooked but has a huge impact on the canines long-term performance, said Pearce. Canines in the program at Auburn are trained as traditional explosive detection dogs before the vapor wake training begins but the entire process begins even before the dog is born. A Vapor Wake Detection canine is bred for this line of work, it says online, and enters the Detector Dog Raising Program upon birth. At about 13 weeks of age, the puppies begin work in a facility with prisoners. The dogs ability to stay 24 hours a day, seven days a week with one particular prisoner-handler has lead to future success in more intense training situations. Over the next few months, the puppys natural instincts are honed and they are exposed to various environmental settings in the prison facility until they are about a year old. Sporting breeds are primarily used for this program because of their friendly nature and close association with the public. Once the puppy becomes an adult, they return to the CDRI for the next phase of training. The dogs are less than two years old when they enter our program, said Pearce. While the dogs in the program will be placed in a new home with the right partner and family, its the handler who has to leave home for approximately three months to take this training. Standard course students are away from home for 10 weeks and those headed to vapor wake are away for [at least] 12 weeks. We will guide the client in selecting a person to attend if asked, but it is primarily the clients [agencys] responsibility to ensure they provide us with a quality person that we can shape into a quality handler, added Pearce. The course includes written tests, proficiency checks and performance evaluations to ensure the students are meeting the high standards the CDRI has established. Not every handler or canine makes it through the standard program and on to the vapor wake training. However, because of the training the canines have received since early on in their life, most generally complete both courses, becoming dually certified. If a canine cannot complete the vapor wake portion, they are used to fulfill standard explosive detection canine team needs with various contracts and clients, said Pearce. It takes a lot of time to train these teams and then give them time and training in their environment to make them an expert at detection of explosives there. You are talking about a years worth of time to make this canine team extremely highly proficient at detection of explosives that are either body worn or carried. A lot of agencies arent doing anything on how to tactically handle a suicide bomber. I feel that is a huge mistake. Lets further develop this [vapor wake] technology and be ready to employ it when its requested. Unfortunately, it will take an event to change our culture before standard operating procedures are developed to tactically handle this type of event. By this time, it is too late to start developing detection methods. When it comes to how many teams they produce a year, the answer is primarily driven by contracts. If we get more of a demand, then we will expand the program to meet the demand or contract requirements. Pearce goes on to explain the low ratio of students with canines to instructors is usually four to one. When the team graduates the program, the canines must begin training in their environment. Amtraks Inspector Parker describes bringing the team into the natural habitat they will be in day to day and people are a part of that. So, on a daily basis, they use people and equipment as decoys that mimic the actions of a real suicide bomber or terrorist action. About two and a half months post-graduation from the CDRI, the average Amtrak Vapor Wake Detection team is in full deployment mode at various locations across the country and maintaining a high level of training on a daily basis. In the private and public sector, the machine has replaced the dog in efforts of explosives detection. But there are facts to be considered when comparing the two technologies. When considering a canine versus a machine, keep in mind that a dog can get into places that a machine cannot, as well as never having a need for electricity. According to John Pearce, There really isnt anything better in the detection of explosives and providing a deterrent than a canine. The canine can sample the air four times per second without being re-calibrated, where a machine must recalibrate after every sample taken. The canine is also highly mobile. Additionally, if [a terrorist wants] to defeat a machine, it is much easier. Once [they] figure it out, [they] can defeat each and every model of that machine in the same manner. Although canines have to meet a standard, not every canine is alike. Therefore, what one canine might find difficult, another canine might find easy. Also, it is very easy to train the canine on a new scent. It will take the canine less than a day to start learning the new scent, adds Pearce. T&M Protection Resources of New York City and their canine partners, Camp Frontline LTD, have introduced the Vapor Wake Detection Canine to private sector clients. They are the first and only private company to have attended and completed the rigorous Auburn University CDRI program. Their first team, Raven and handler Brian Murphy, even garnered top honors at the August, 2010 graduation. They have since added a few more teams to their force that includes traditional explosive detection canines as well. Under the guidance of Michael and Paul Stapleton, pioneers in the field of private sector bomb dogs, T&M and Camp Frontline feel that the Vapor Wake Detection Canine is a perfect fit in a variety of applications. These dogs are unobtrusive and a great addition to event security. What high profile stadium or location wouldnt want to add this technology to their protocol? asks Paul Stapleton, Canine Director. There are sporting events, entertainment programs, sensitive landmarks and more that command large crowds. With Vapor Wake Detection Canines, guests dont realize they have been screened. When asked, Michael Stapleton referred to the work being done by the Vapor Wake Detection teams, John Pearce and the CDRI as patriotic. There are many lives relying on a vapor wake team armed with a wonderful training and patriotic vision. Each team has an extraordinary talent and capability. They have performed extremely difficult work in training and have put in the time and effort into fighting the good and God-willing the safe fight. For more on Vapor Wake Detection and Auburn Universitys CDRI, check out Reprinted with permission from K9 Cop Magazine March/April 2011 issue, (270) 534-0500, .k9copmagazine… 相关的主题文章:


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