NYPD Counterterror Canines


Police Commissioner Bratton has noted that “it’s mind boggling that the federal government is cutting funding at a time when the terrorist threat is expanding.” One of the things those federal funds contribute to is counterterrorism canines like these: highly trained animals that “outperform both men and machines,” according to Chief of Counterterrorism James Waters.

As detailed in a recent AP story, dogs may be the best line of defense against subway attacks. Vapor wake dogs undergo 15 months of training in order to be able to detect explosive particles like the TATP used in Brussels and then follow the particles in real time. Imagine a terrorist, carrying a bomb, stalking through a crowded public space like a subway station. These dogs have the capability of sniffing out those particles, then tracking the bomb as it moves. This isn’t surprising considering dog noses have 40 times the number of olfactory sensors that human noses do.

Keeping these dogs trained and deployed—and keeping New York City safe—is just one part of the NYPD’s counterterror mission. You can learn more here.