Seeking Improved Security, LAX Adds Bomb-Sniffing Dogs
Following the failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing of a plane bound for Detroit, President Obama asked airports to "aggressively pursue enhanced screening technology, protocols, and procedures." Mayor Villaraigosa responded by directing LAPD and airport police to conduct a review of existing security procedures at LAX.
On Thursday, Villaraigosa, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and others introduced the latest reinforcements brought on as a result of this review, coincidentally ten days after airport police stepped up security in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden.
The PACT program (Pro-Active Canine Team) is the first of its kind, said LAX Police Chief George Centeno at the press conference.
Like many airports, LAX has had dogs trained to sniff bags for years but the new team of canines is specially trained to sniff out fumes and explosives on a potential suicide bomber's clothing and inside shoes or a belt for up to 15 minutes after the person walks by.
"As the threat evolves, so must our response," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said, leading us to wonder whether we might one day evolve back into four-legged creatures.
"Unlike traditional bomb-sniffing dogs, these unique fully-trained explosive detection K-9s can detect concealed explosives on a person, in other words, a moving target such as a suicide bomber," said Mayor Villaraigosa.
The mayor, who likely couldn't find any funding for new security technology (or dogs) in the city's ransacked budget, was bailed out this time by the Los Angeles Police Foundation, according to L.A. Now.
So next time we're at LAX and an imposing Belgian Malinois gets between our legs, we'll be reminded that the world is a safer place.
Still no word on whether or not we'll ever be allowed through security without removing our shoes.