State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray today announced fifty explosive detection canine teams from across the state are participating in ‘Canine Week’ this week at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. This year’s exercise was designed to allow 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 across the state, at all levels of government are participating in the training, which began on Tuesday, April 26.
“Specialized canine teams, like the ones training here this week, play a vital role in preventing attacks using explosive devices, and responding to real-time incidents," said Jackie Bray, Commissioner of the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “During Canine Week the State and our partners who join us as instructors, offer real world scenario-based training to law enforcement from local, state and federal agencies to prepare the teams for what they may face during or after an emergency warranting their response."
New York’s more than 300 law enforcement explosive detection canine (EDC) teams play a critical role in protecting public safety as they are primarily responsible for conducting searches for explosive materials near building exteriors, parking lots, office areas, vehicles, and critical infrastructure sites, as well as mass gathering events.
Since 2009, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has allocated more than $5.7 million in federal homeland security funds to support explosive detection canine teams across the State. This program supports New York State’s counter-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 improvised explosive device type incidents.
All Canine Week EDC teams are participating in the following skills lanes:
Effective Parking Lot Searches: In this lane, EDC teams develop a strategy and search plan to clear a parking lot with 50+ vehicles effectively and efficiently.
Search Pattern Strategies: This lane conditions EDC teams to draw the best performance in a difficult search area, which includes both urban and rural landscapes.
Use of EDC Teams in School Safety: In this lane, EDC teams conduct a sweep of a school following a bomb threat.
HazMat Decontamination for EDC Teams: This FDNY-designed skills lane features the simulated exposure of a working canine to drugs (fentanyl) during an explosives sweep. EDC Handlers receive training on establishing a First-Aid Plan to minimize exposure to both the canine and the handler.
Post-Blast Practices for EDC Teams: This skills lane, based on the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, requires EDC teams to clear a crime scene after an explosion.
Odor Recognition Testing: ATF representatives “imprinted” canines on different explosives so that they can effectively detect these scents in improvised explosive devices. These odors are imprinted on a canine’s brain via constant repetition and reward.
Stadium Searches: Using the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, EDC teams learned to properly pre-plan for a search of a large stadium and then to execute a “top to bottom” search of the area.
Street Clearing Fundamentals: Taking place outside of the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, EDC teams learned how to systematically clear a street for explosive devices before an event and how to clear a street after an attack occurs for secondary devices.
The following New York State law enforcement agencies are participating (some with multiple teams):
- Albany Police Department
- Binghamton Police Department
- Guilderland Police Department
- Livingston County Sheriff's Office
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department
- Nassau County Police Department
- New York State Police
- New York Police Department Critical Response Command
- New York Police Department Transit Bureau
- New York State University Police – SUNY Albany
- Oneida County Sheriff's Office
- Orange County Sheriff's Office
- Otsego County Sheriff's Office
- Peekskill Police Department
- Port Authority Police Department
- Saugerties Police Department
- Steuben County Sheriff's Office
- Suffolk County Police Department
- Syracuse Police Department
- Town of Warwick Police Department
- Town of Woodbury Police Department
- Transportation Security Administration
- Utica Police Department
- Westchester County Police Department
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “We are proud to train side by side with our partner agencies, working toward the same goal of providing the best service for New Yorkers. Continued explosive detection training is essential and allows our canine teams to improve their skills. I thank the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services for providing this resource to continue to keep our state safe.”
MTA Police Department Chief Sean Montgomery said, “We are grateful to the State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services for the opportunity to train with other canine units across New York to sharpen their explosives detection skills. We are proud of the work our canine teams perform to prevent terrorism and keep New Yorkers safe throughout the mass transit system.”
Port Authority Police Superintendent Edward Cetnar said, “The training of canine teams to help detect explosives is a critical component in our collective effort to ensure public safety and to best protect our citizens and facilities. We appreciate the opportunity to work with our law enforcement partners on such an important and necessary exercise.”
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 us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), or visit dhses.ny.gov.