Local bomb sniffing dogs fail exam
PHILADELPHIA INT'L AIRPORT - January 5, 2010 (WPVI) -- Congressman Bob Brady says heads must roll for what he calls an unacceptable failure that put Philadelphia travelers at risk, the TSA's 3 bomb sniffing dogs stationed at Philadelphia international, de-certified after flunking 2 consecutive tests."They don't retrain them. They gotta retrain and recertify them. It's not the dog's fault! They can't say I can't smell a bomb," he said.
According to the TSA, some 700 dogs are stationed at airports, train stations and other travel hubs around the country each of them undergoing 10 week training in Lackland Texas. All of them must also be occasionally re-certified. The 3 dogs under TSA control at Philadelphia international, responsible for checking cargo, all failed those re-certification tests in November, and again in December even as up to 10 Philadelphia police dogs working at the airport passed.
"Kind of makes you question the whole system altogether, so they kind of need to go back and review everything and make sure everything is in place for better security," said traveler Samir Via.
Even though decertified, the 3 dogs remain active and on-duty at the airport. The TSA says as quote, "visual deterrents while they are intensively retrained".
But Congressman Brady says the problem is much bigger and called on the Senate to confirm the president's pick to lead the troubled TSA.
"Let him get in there, what are they afraid of, that he may upgrade that organization, the TSA, maybe train them better? We've had problems with them before, they gotta be trained better. We gotta protect our citizens. This is crazy."
Congressman Brady told us Tuesday night, as far as he's concerned, there will be three new, fully certified dogs at Philadelphia International on Wednesday.
In a statement, the airport says it has no received no notification of any of this from the TSA, but that all airport operations remain safe, as bomb sniffing dogs are just one of many security systems in place.
The TSA goes on to state:
It's National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP) deploys canines throughout the United States in coordination with our transportation security partners. Over 700 TSA canine teams are deployed in aviation, mass transit and maritime systems nationwide. Each year these teams must re-certify to detect dozens of explosives scents; when a canine team does not perform up to TSA certification standards they are placed on a remedial plan to regain their full certification. TSA certified canine teams are an invaluable asset to detect, deter, and defeat attempts to introduce explosive devices into our transportation systems. Canine teams are a highly reliable component of TSA's multi-layered security program further ensuring the safety and security of the traveling public.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, airline security, philadelphia international airport, local/state, brian taff
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