New passenger screening dogs added to RSW
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Jul. 17, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Southwest International Airport security has some new muscle.
But these new security guards have tails, four legs and they may drool a little bit.
Apis, Mojo and Gina are the airport's first passenger screening canines.
"These dogs have the capability to pick up an explosive scent on a person if they are carrying any type of explosive on them," TSA Federal Security Director Robert Cohen said.
The dogs are looking for dangerous scents on passengers as they walk through the airport or sit at a terminal. When they smell something that could be an explosive material, they alert their handlers with changes in behavior.
"You'll see a dog sometimes throw its head up in the air, throw its head down, close its mouth and sniff more intently," K9 Handler Eric Bonner said.
Bonner works with yellow lab Gina. Living and working together, the two make a great team.
"It's a bond, it's something that has to be worked with and treasured. The dog has to want to work for you and you have to want to work with the dog," Bonner said.
The dogs went through six months of training before their noses were put into action. They continue to train daily, but it's not all work and no play.
"A dog has to be a dog so when I come home I let her run around the yard, she sleeps on the couch, I get to play with her," Bonner said.
But when the harness is on, these dogs mean business.
"It gives us an added security posture that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to get through this airport with an explosive," Cohen said.