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K9 units train to sniff out explosives and illegal drugs in seconds

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 1, 2016)-- Dozens of K9 teams from across the Midwest came to Indianapolis to go through intensive training, working on techniques to help each team sniff out explosives and drug paraphernalia in just seconds.

“We have search and rescue, we have patrol, and we have narcotics and explosives,” said TSA Federal Security Director Aaron Batt.

The police K9 unit is a vital part of law enforcement. Each highly-skilled dog can identify a bomb threat or bust an entire drug operation in just seconds.

“These dogs are that valuable of a tool. They are looking for that person that is carrying something on their person, in their backpack, or roller bag. They are looking for that person that is going through the airport carrying that dangerous item with them," said TSA K9 Handler Keith Smith.

We went behind the scenes of an intensive K9 training course with more than 50 city, state and federal law enforcement teams from the Midwest. Each team was testing their K9 units in a series of scenarios to train the dogs to identify a threat that could put hundreds of lives at risk. Each K9 team can track down the scent of explosives, drug paraphernalia or other illegal materials in seconds, even if it is hidden.

“You cannot teach this hunt, it is natural. It comes from birth,” said Ken Licklider of Von Liche Kennels.

Law enforcement officers depend on the K9’s superb senses to find threats.

“You look at the incidents that happened in Belgium recently and how important these type of dogs would be in that environment,” said Smith.

They work every day to track down these dangers and stop them before they happen.

“We are always trying to advance the dogs and get them better, have them be able to find smaller amounts in deeper areas. We are always trying to make them better dogs in the end,” said Smith.