By Friedrich Seiltgen
The newest trend in law enforcement is gun sniffing dogs. While some of the first reports of these new tools started as early as 2011, the use of gun sniffing K-9s has increased in the last two years.
The latest agency to add gun sniffing K-9s to their crime fighting arsenal is the Connecticut State Police. In an October press release, the agency announced that four K-9 teams recently graduated from Connecticut’s very first firearm detection class. In a new training program developed by the agency, the dogs trained for six weeks to detect and alert their handlers to the presence of firearms and spent shell casings. Two of the K-9s are with the state police, with one going to Hartford and one to Meriden.
Gun sniffing dogs are trained to smell ammo and gunpowder and its residue. Dogs can be trained to find guns, just as they are trained to find bombs or drugs. They are given a certain scent and trained to find that scent only.
There are K-9s for detecting almost everything. There are K-9s trained to detect changes in a diabetic’s blood sugar level who will wake up their masters before they go into diabetic shock. There are bomb dogs, drug dogs, cadaver dogs, cash dogs, electronics dogs, and even meat dogs – yes, meat dogs! The USDA has their “Beagle Brigade.” These little guys and gals are used in the F.I.S. (Federal Inspection Station) at your international airport. They sniff out meat and fruit in passengers’ baggage on arriving international flights, as these items are not allowed into the U.S. I have seen these dogs in action. Believe me, they find some interesting stuff, but don’t get me started…
Gun sniffing dogs can be very useful. For example, when a suspect flees the scene of a gun crime, many times they will pitch the gun to avoid extra charges if caught. If a dog can locate the weapon quickly, there will be evidence tying the criminal to the gun possession. This was already the case with the newly trained K-9s in Connecticut. K9 “Mika” found a gun a suspect threw away during a chase.
In South Florida, the Florida Atlantic University Police Department in Boca Raton added a gun sniffing dog this year. With shootings at schools and the awful massacre at Virginia Tech, the university decided a gun sniffing dog would be a wise addition to its department. K-9 “Zero” is on the job searching for guns on campus.
In June of this year, Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter in the Parkland shooting, donated a gun sniffing dog to the Bradford County Florida Sheriff’s Office. Pollack said he chose Bradford County because it has been active in strategies to protect their schools.
While the K-9s will most certainly be useful in fighting gun crime, I just know their talents will be abused by ugh, politicians! I fear anti-Constitutional states will be using these K-9s to confiscate guns possessed by law-abiding citizens who simply want to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He is currently a Part-Time policer officer with the Starke, Florida Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, First Aid, Active Shooter Response, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida. His writing has appeared in The Counter Terrorist Magazine, Homeland Security Today and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at [email protected].