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Local explosive detection K-9 unit makes adjustments in light of Boston attacks

Local explosive detection K-9 unit makes adjustments in ligh

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs Police Department's explosive detection unit said Thursday it would make adjustments in the way it trains its bomb-sniffing dogs in light of the Boston Marathon attacks.

Explosive Detection K-9 Handler Officer Clint Schumm said after incidents like the bombings in Boston, trainers add new scenarios to keep their dogs versatile. Schumm said his German Shepherd Blex will be placed in similar conditions to those in Boston to gear up for summer events that draw large crowds.

"There is never a threshold where we say they are trained up, that's why we never stop. In the bomb world we don't have much room for mistake, we have no room for mistake, so we constantly challenge our dogs to be better and better," said Schumm.

Bomb-sniffing dogs like Blex are in high demand following the attacks in Boston. A Lousiana company called US K-9 trains dogs. It's waiting list jumped to 21 dogs following the attacks.

CSPD shares two dogs with Colorado Springs Airport. The Department of Homeland Security owns the dogs. The two dogs spend 80 percent of their time at the aiport and the other 20 percent responding to CSPD calls as well as calls four counties surrounding El Paso County.

CSPD and Colorado Springs Airport are working to add another K-9 unit to the explosive detection team. CSPD would like to get a fourth dog to be used exclusively for CSPD calls.

"In today's day and age and the economy, for every handler you have, you have to give up a body and our police department is already lacking in a lot of help on the streets. So it's hard to expand the program," said Schumm.

Schumm said activity for his team has stepped up since Boston.

"We've seen a slight increase since the Boston incident. I think in the future we're going to continue to see an increase. It's all going to be mandated by domestic terrorism, et cetera," said Schumm.

Schumm and Blex responded to bomb threats at Vista Ridge High School on Wednesday. The pair also responded to the bomb threat on Thursday at the school.



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