Explosive Detection Canine Training with uniformed officers and trained canine animals conducting search in area near train car and train tracks
April 27, 2023
Oriskany, NY

DHSES Hosts Explosive Detection Canine Teams Training

DHSES Hosts More Than 50 Explosive Detection Canine Teams for Specialized Training at State Preparedness Training Center
Canine Teams From NYS Law Enforcement Agencies Taking Part in Weeklong Training, Rotating Through Nine Specialized Skills Lanes at State Preparedness Training Center

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray today announced 54 explosive detection canine teams from across the state are participating in ‘Canine Week’ this week at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. The exercise allows handlers and their canine partners to practice response and leadership skills in a variety of real-world scenarios involving explosives and explosive devices. Teams from local and state law enforcement agencies are participating in training, which began on Monday, April 24.

“DHSES is proud to host its third annual Canine Week for our public safety partners at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, which plays host to agencies from across New York State,” said Jackie Bray, Commissioner of the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “These teams work year-round keeping New Yorkers safe from threats of explosive materials and this training is critical for the variety of threats we face.”

New York’s more than 300 law enforcement explosive detection canine (EDC) teams aid law enforcement’s response through conducting searches for explosive materials near building exteriors, parking lots, office areas, vehicles, mass transit venues, critical infrastructure sites, and mass gathering events.

Since 2009, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) has allocated more than $6.4 million in federal homeland security funds to support EDC teams across the state. This program supports New York’s counter- improvised explosive device (IED) response operations through screening, searching and detection of explosive materials. Explosive detection canine teams serve as a mobile response capability for detection and identification of potential explosive and IED type incidents.

All Canine Week EDC teams are participating in the following skills lanes:

Odor Recognition Testing: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will have canine experts at Canine Week to “imprint” canines on different explosives so they can effectively detect these scents in improvised explosive devices. These odors are imprinted on a canine’s brain via constant repetition and reward. 

Discharged Firearms Searches for EDC Teams: EDC teams can be utilized to detect discharged firearms. Given the threat posed by gun violence, this capability is often in high demand. This lane trains EDC teams to effectively detect discharged firearms and shell casings.

Initial EDC Response to Managing a Critical Incident: During routine patrols, EDC teams are often “on the scene” very quickly during major incidents, such as the active shooter event in the New York City subway last April. This lane trains EDC handlers to respond quickly and effectively to a critical incident as it unfolds.

Bomb Technician/EDC Team Integration Lane: Coordination, communication, and integration between EDC teams and bomb squads is critical to response efforts involving suspicious packages. This lane, developed by the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit, supports EDC teams’ ability to successfully coordinate with their bomb squad partners. 

Special Event Security: EDC teams across New York State are frequently called upon to protect special events and mass gatherings in their jurisdiction. Protecting large, open spaces requires careful planning and coordination. EDC teams will test their core prevention concepts at the new Nexus Center in downtown Utica.

Canine Medical Support Operations: To protect the public from threats of terrorism, EDC teams are constantly placed in potentially dangerous situations. The health and safety of these canines is of the utmost importance to their handlers and their agencies. This lane features support from a veterinarian that specializes in working dog care. Participants learn how to care for their dogs including after an immediate injury and how to extend their working life.

EDC Coordination with Accelerant Detection Assets: The threat of “fire as a weapon” has been highlighted by the federal Department of Homeland Security. EDC teams cannot detect accelerants, but accelerant detection canine teams can. This lane trains participating EDC teams to recognize common accelerants that they may come across in their response efforts, how to differentiate these from explosive precursors, and how to coordinate with accelerate detection canine teams that are sent in to respond.

Helicopter Socialization Flights: Given the evolving threat environment, EDC teams must be prepared to respond to all major events. To support this effort, the New York State Police Aviation Unit is providing brief socialization flights for participating EDC teams. If EDC assets need to move quickly to support efforts during or after a bombing event, they may have to travel by helicopter. This lane prepares participating EDC teams to respond to this type of low probability, but high-risk situation.

The following law enforcement agencies are participating (some with multiple teams):

  • AMTRAK Police Department
  • Buffalo Police Department
  • Delaware County Sheriff's Office
  • Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
  • Livingston County Sheriff's Office
  • Metro Vancouver Transit Police
  • Monroe County Sheriff's Office
  • MTA Police Department
  • New York State Parks Police
  • New York State Police
  • Niagara County Sheriff's Office
  • NYPD Critical Response Command
  • NYPD Emergency Services Unit
  • NYPD Transit Bureau
  • NYS University Police - SUNY Albany
  • NYS University Police - SUNY Morrisville
  • Oneida County Sheriff's Office
  • Orange County Sheriff's Office
  • Otsego County Sheriff Office
  • Peekskill Police Department
  • Port Authority Police Department
  • Saugerties Police Department
  • Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office
  • Steuben County Sheriff's Office
  • Troy Police Department
  • Utica Police Department
  • Westchester County Police Department

ATF Special Agent In Charge John DeVito said, “K9s are an invaluable part of the ATF family. The ATF-trained K9s provide valuable leads in assessing threats to the public in relation to arson and explosives detection. We hope this training helps our local, state and federal partners keep the public safe. We are extremely proud of our partnership with NYS DHSES and the opportunity to train amongst professionals in a premier training facility.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Superintendent of Police Edward Cetnar said, "Port Authority Police canine teams are tasked with providing a crucial element in the fight against terrorism and the overall safety of those who travel in and around the Port District. It is imperative that they are trained to the highest standards in explosives detection. To this end, we are pleased to join in training with this professional team during canine week.”

About the State Preparedness Training Center

New York State is home to one of the premier first responder training facilities in the nation – the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany. Located on 1,100 acres, the SPTC offers an extensive series of realistic training venues, a Swift Water and Flood Training (SWFT) venue, a 45,000 square foot CityScape complex, and an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) simulator. From classroom lectures and discussions to skill development lanes to reality and high-performance scenario-based training, the SPTC offers state, local, and federal agencies a spectrum of opportunities for dynamic emergency first responder training.

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism, natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.