Bomb dog protection at Tulsa's International Airport gets a perfect score

Thursday, August 19th 2004, 10:35 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa has two bomb-sniffing dog teams working the airport. The federal Transportation Security Administration puts them through a tough test every year for certification.

The teams did something this year no Tulsa team has ever done, they got perfect scores.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says Officer Karen Douglass and her partner Demi are an explosive detector canine team, which went looking Thursday for a mock explosive device that's been hidden inside the Tulsa International Airport.

After September 11th, Officer Douglass, like so many people, wanted to do something to serve her country. She was too old for the military, so found this job, a perfect fit. Officer Karen Douglass: "It does give me a feeling that we're are making things safer in our small way.”

Officer Pat Eagan and Romeo also received a perfect score on this year's annual test by the TSA. They had to find 27 different devices hidden at different heights and depths and that contained different weights of explosive content. Officer Pat Eagan: "They hide em in the terminal, a couple of aircraft, warehouses, vehicle lot and baggage."

The dogs are trained to recognize the odors of different ingredients used to make explosives and when they find them, must let the officer know.

Karen Douglass: "They're not supposed to bark or dig or nose. We don't want to blow up, so they just sit and get quiet."

Because of increased security concerns at airports in places like baggage and airplanes, Tulsa will be adding two more teams of bomb dogs by 2005. The teams spend much of their time at the airport checking suspicious packages or abandoned luggage and doing random searches.

If their recent test score is any indication, people traveling through Tulsa's airport, can feel an extra sense of safety. The teams credit their perfect score in part to the spotter who worked with them, Tulsa officer Bobby Biskup and their supervisor, Corporal RT Jones.

This federal canine program was actually created back in 1972 when a dog searched a plane headed from New York to LA and found a bomb just 12 minutes before it was set to go off. So, it's not a new program, but is perhaps more important than ever.