As we welcome law enforcement officers from across our nation to Washington D.C. to commemorate National Police Week, we’d be remiss not to thank the unsung hero partners of many of our forces: canines.
Earlier this month, near an immigration checkpoint in Tucson, Arizona, a U.S. citizen was arrested for narcotics smuggling after a Border Patrol canine unit detected an odor emitting from a hearse, which produced over $33,000 worth of marijuana concealed within a casket. After the Twin Towers fell on 9/11, hundreds of talented canine teams were integral to search and rescue attempts, searching through 16 acres of rubble where the World Trade Center once stood, to find tragic remains, or those lucky enough still to be alive. TSA’s canine teams screened approximately 26 million passengers in fiscal year 2016, and responded to 35,000 unattended items within the transportation system in 2016, to ensure no explosives were present and mitigate the impact of shutdowns and evacuations. And finally, in October 2016, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees at JFK Airport said a happy fare well to retiring Jasper, a CBP agriculture canine credited with over 17,000 seizures and over 23,000 interceptions. Jasper thwarted smuggler’s attempts to sneak everything and anything past customs from illegal whale meat to live turtles. These are just a few examples of the many ways canines contribute to the safety and security of our homeland.