NYC Bomb Squad Training Manual



Food as Primary Stimulus for Reward

Procedure for Training Dog to Alert by Siting

Search Behavior

Touch do not Disturb

False Sits

The Art in Homeland Security

Taming Explosives
for Training

Detecting Concealed
Explosives with
Gamma Rays

Bomb Squad Manual for New York City Police Department
Explosive Detection Canines

The problem of coping with the urban terrorist is all too often a matter of measure and countermeasure; unfortunately, the initiative belongs to the guerrilla, particularly to the urban bomber. He is free to change devices or methods at will; the police and/or military must respond appropriately and in kind. In this counterattack, no instruments, methods or procedures have universal applicability.

In recent years much scientific effort and monies have been expended to research and develop instruments and systems capable of detecting concealed bombs and explosives. In this regard the principle areas of scientific concern have been tagging, radiography, nuclear activation and effluent detection. In this latter category some extremely sophisticated scientific instruments have been developed, the so called "electronic sniffers". These have been mainly modified gas chromatographs or electron capture detectors with claimed capabilities of indicating the most minute of explosive odors. To date these instruments have been by and large delicate, expensive, non-portable and of limited applicability.

Ironically, the single most conspicuously successful effluent detector developed as of now has been man's best and oldest friend, the dog. And this paper is written with a specific mission to accomplish i.e. to find a concealed explosive quickly and efficiently.

There are some obvious problems involved in using dogs in law enforcement, particularly in large U.S. Cities where police dogs have a poor public image and which has had no recent previous experience with canines. Quartering, maintaining and training can be difficult indeed, to say nothing of the problem of overcoming the innate skepticism of one's fellow officers.

Bomb Detection Canines are being used in various parts of the world. Training methods and principles vary widely and can result in varying canine capabilities. This manual relates only to the experiences of the New York City Police Department. Generalizations can be hazardous.

On May 1, 1971, the New York City Police Department Bomb Section acquired its first dogs in over twenty years; one is a German Shepherd, and the other, a Labrador Retriever. Both dogs had been previously trained in explosive detection for the odors of dynamite and C-4 (a plastic explosive), by the Psychology Department of the University of Mississippi under a Federal Grant (L.E.A.A.). Both dogs were spayed females and had been debarked and received basic obedience training. The dogs were accustomed to work both on and off leash, and with more than one handler. Three qualified dog handlers were selected from the uniform force of the department to work with the dogs. A kennel was erected adjacent to the Bomb Squad Office since these particular dogs are for the exclusive use of their office.

Since in some ways training of Explosive Detection Canines represent certain departures from traditional methods and also from that of other detection dogs, it is therefore worth describing here.