TIA's newest K9 can detect explosives from a distance
TAMPA (FOX 13) - There is a new line of defense with Tampa International Airport's newest K-9 officer, who is far more than the typical bomb-sniffing dog.
Anya, a the 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, is part of a brand new class of highly trained explosive-detection dogs that are able to identify and track a bomb through an airport, similar to the way a bloodhound tracks people.
"Being at a distance she doesn't have to go up to an object and sniff. She can detect explosives at a distance. She walks through a crowd and is able to detect and take her partner to the explosives," explained TIA Police Sgt. Jeff Browning. "That's a big thing."
Anya joined the security team in February as part of the new Explosive Detection Interdiction Canine Program.
"They came up with this style about three years ago. Miami has approximately 10 dogs at their police department and it's growing nationwide," Browning said.
Anya and her handler, Officer Christopher Reggi, trained together for 14 weeks in Miami with Metro-Dade K9 Services. The program trains dogs to identify and actively pursue explosives.
"She'll go where she picks up odor the strongest. she'll definitely be able to hit that odor and take me to the person," Regg said.
Airport officials say she's a game-changer for security.
"A dog is a mobile platform," Browning explained. "She can be anywhere all over the airport anywhere, anytime and she's mobile so we can take her anywhere that we need to go. It's not like carrying a piece of equipment. We can take her onto a plane onto the ramp through the terminal we can take our dogs wherever we need them."