Bomb-sniffing dogs at LAX on the front lines of passenger safety

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Bomb-sniffing K9s at LAX undergo rigorous training and have plenty of work at one of the world's busiest airports. (KABC)

With tens of millions of people flying through Los Angeles International Airport every year, security screeners have their work cut out for them. And that includes the K9s who work with the TSA to sniff out potential explosives.

The K9 program at LAX is the largest in the country, and that means plenty of work for dogs like four-year-old Orca. She's a German shorthaired pointer who is trained to detect the odor of explosives, poking her nose around just about everything from passenger luggage to vehicles, cargo facilities and airplane interiors.

Dogs like Orca continue to constantly train, which is done by sending decoy passengers through the lines packing an explosive odor. The K9s have to sniff them out and pass certification tests every year.

Not every dog makes the cut.

"It's really important that they're at the top of their game when they're working for us," said Nico Melendez, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration. "They have to get used to the noises, the sounds, the smells, all the distractions in the airport. So sometimes it takes time to get a dog certified."

The TSA uses about 1,000 explosive-sniffing dogs at airports across the country - though it won't say specifically how many are at LAX - and cycles in about 250 new dogs every year.
Related Topics:
dogsairport securitysecuritydepartment of homeland securityTSAlos angeles international airportWestchesterLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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