Bomb-sniffing dogs added to OIA security

TSA discusses how agents are trained to spot hidden bombs


ORLANDO, Fla. – A new canine program at Orlando International Airport could mean you get to keep your shoes on the next time you walk through airport security.

[WEB EXTRA: TSA Precheck Info]

The Transportation Security Administration started using bomb-sniffing dogs at OIA back in December, during certain busy periods at airport security checkpoints.

The dogs clear passengers while they wait in the line. Once the dog determines you're safe, chances are you'll get to walk through security without taking off your belt, shoes, or having to remove your laptop.

It's the same type of faster treatment that passengers who sign up for the new TSA pre-check get each time they pass through security. TSA is using the dogs and pushing the pre-check because smaller crowds at checkpoints are safer, and make it easier for behavior detection officers to identify someone with suspicious body language.

"A perfect example? That's the Boston bomber," said TSA Federal Security Director Jerry Henderson. "If you looked at a big picture of that whole crowd, most of the people looking at finish line the bombers were looking elsewhere."

Another program TSA has in Orlando includes a former military bomb expert who hides explosives in children's books, laptops and even soda cans, then slips them through security checkpoints during exercises, hoping TSA agents will find them.

"This is a children's baby doll, it has a large amount of explosives in the head," Nathan Jones told Local 6, while showing off one of the devices he made to train TSA agents.

"My philosophy is, if I can think of it the bad guys can think of it," Jones said.

Jones showed off a laser that can determine whether a passenger is trying to smuggle something dangerous onto a plane, like ammonium nitrate -- a blasting agent that could appear to be sugar.

Henderson oversees Jones and the airport's TSA operation center. His staff is in constant contact with other TSA control rooms at 450 airports nationwide, as well as TSA's command center in Washington DC.

Whenever troubling incidents like the Boston Marathon bombing occur, his Orlando-based team springs into action.

"We assume the next incident will happen here at this airport," he said. "We start making adjustments well ahead of anyone telling us to."