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Detection Canine

Detection Canine Team working the crowd at a basketball arenaCanines are an effective resource for detection operations. The Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T's) Detection Canine Program provides the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE)—including DHS Components, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies (SLTT)—with the tools, techniques, and knowledge to better understand, train, and deploy detection canines in their operational environments.

S&T is working with DHS partners, including the Transportation Security Administration, other federal agencies, and state and local law enforcement, to:  

  • Provide a central focal point for DHS canine research, development, test and evaluation; 
  • Promote intra-department and interagency coordination to drive the development of technologies with broad application; and 
  • Provide a specific focus on the Person-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) detection canine.

Program Capabilities

  • State of the Art Lab Analysis
  • Independent/Expert Test and Evaluation Assessment
  • HSE Community Outreach
  • Cross Discipline Odor Discrimination
  • Interagency Partnerships

Specific Focus Areas

  • Development and testing of canine training aids that can be used to improve and test canine ability to detect new threats; 
  • Independent operational test and evaluation capability for detection canines; discovering canine strengths and weaknesses by performing in-field assessments; and using a scientifically rigorous approach with statistically significant results to enhance and validate testing methods; and 
  • Canine R&D structure and function with focus on basic understanding of canine olfaction, cognition, genetics, genomics and breeding, and behavior to improve operational efficiencies and training methods.

Person-Borne Improvised Explosive Device Canine Initiative

The DHS S&T PBIED Canine Initiative was started in 2012 in order to understand the strengths and limits of canines specially trained to detect PBIEDs being carried in by people, either on their person or in bags, in mass transit and large crowd event operational environments. This type of parametric study and testing has not previously been done, but is critical to scientifically determine the limits of performance.

Since 2012, thousands of data points have been collected during hundreds of individual assessment events involving federal, state, and local law enforcement partner agencies—the results of which have informed the creation of Person-borne Explosive Detection (PBED) Canine Training Guidelines. These guidelines include advanced training techniques that have proven successful in fielding proficient PBED canine teams, and are specifically designed for canine officers familiar with traditional Explosive Detection Canine (EDC) training who would like to “up-train” their teams to develop PBED capability.

Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative 

The Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative (REDDI) was started in 2017 as an outreach effort aimed at advancing the knowledge and capabilities of our nation’s detection canine teams. This initiative addresses the need for a centralized focal point within DHS to address mission requirements, conduct operationally relevant research, facilitate knowledge sharing, and act as a repository of expert advice for the detection canine community. Agencies interested in hosting a REDDI event can send a request to STK9@hq.dhs.gov.

Learn more about us and discover how your organization can partner with S&T to make the homeland more secure.

Last Updated: 06/14/2024
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