New York City deploys new
explosive-sniffing dogs for fourth July
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[July 02, 2016]
By Gina Cherelus
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City will
deploy its first class of police dogs trained to trace vapor trails left
behind by would-be bombers as part of stepped-up security measures to
protect the country's largest city during the Fourth of July weekend.
The so-called Vapor Wake Detection Dogs are capable of detecting
air-borne scents from explosives even after the carrier has left the
area, a skill that sets them apart from other bomb-detection
The new canine patrols will join thousands of police officers,
including the city's new counter-terrorism squad, in patrolling
crowds gathered for a massive fireworks display over the East River
and other Independence Day events.
The enhanced security comes at a time of heightened U.S. vigilance
against potential attacks on vulnerable targets, including airports,
concerts and clubs.
The long holiday weekend follows an attack on a Dhaka, Bangladesh
cafe on Friday claimed by Islamic State and suicide bombings at
Istanbul's main airport on Tuesday blamed on the militant group. A
gunman inspired by Islamic State went on a shooting rampage in an
Orlando gay nightclub on June 12.
An initial class of eight Labrador Retrievers, part of the NYPD'S
Critical Response Command (CRC), graduated from the training program
in March, two days after a series of coordinated bomb attacks in
"This time last year we were just creating the CRC - the strategic
response group - and beginning to acquire the vapor wake dogs,"
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters on Friday. "This
year they are here, fully trained, fully equipped."
In preparation for the events on the Fourth of July, the NYPD will
deploy the dogs and their handlers in undisclosed locations around
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Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Police K-9 explosive detection
dogs sit on command during agility training at the new MTA Police
Department Canine Training Center in Stormville, New York, U.S. on
June 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
The dogs can sniff out specific scent particles produced by the
body's natural heat that are left behind by an individual wearing an
explosive vest or carrying a bomb in a backpack, according to AMK9,
the company that developed the program. That skill can enable police
to track down the source of the vapors, hopefully in time to stop
Hoksand Lau, an NYPD detective with the CRC, said the ability of the
dogs to detect vapor wakes should prove to be especially valuable in
areas such as Times Square that are packed with pedestrians.
"I think the vapor wake will be very essential to the department,
where we will be able to fill in any type of security gap," Lau said
during the March graduation ceremony.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Frank McGurty and Andrew
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