CHICAGO, May 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Leaders from around the world gather in Chicago this weekend for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 2012 Summit. Law enforcement throughout Chicago, including the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), are ramping up security in preparation for the historic event hosted by President Barack Obama, May 20-21.
ATF deployed several highly-trained special agents, paired with explosives detection canines, to assist in securing the facilities for the summit talks and events. ATF’s K-9 teams are working side-by-side with other federal, state and local law enforcement officers to keep the diplomats and others attending the summit safe throughout the event.
“The Explosives Detection Canine teams traveling to Chicago for the NATO Summit are the best of the best,” said Andy Traver, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Chicago Field Division. “These handlers and their K-9 partners train and prepare all year for an event such as this. Our K-9 teams are here to ensure that all the visitors arriving for the summit are safe.”
The ATF K-9 teams are from Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Texas.
ATF has used its explosives detection canines at other special events including Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Presidential Inaugurations, G-8 Summit meetings, World Series, NASCAR events, 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and Super Bowls.
ATF’s program, which began in 1986, uses only Labrador retrievers. The dogs are supplied by the Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the Guide Dog Foundation, and Canine Companions for Independence. These specialty canines attend a 10-week training program with their handlers that are conducted at the ATF Canine Training Center in Fort Royal, Va. Upon completion of this course, the canines are trained to detect a variety of explosive compounds and materials that could be used in an explosive device. The canines can also detect firearms and ammunition and are used in the more traditional protective search and sweep operations. The teams train on a daily basis.