436th SFS Partners with Worcester K-9 unit
By Roland Balik, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 06, 2018
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Law enforcement K-9 handlers from the Worcester County, Maryland Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit brought two of their eight detection dogs to the 436th Security Forces Squadron military working dog section for an outdoor training session on October 24, 2018.
Making the journey from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland, to Dover AFB was Cpl. Dale Trotter and his K-9 partner, “Edo,” a nine-year-old German Shepherd explosives detection dog and Sgt. Katie Edgar, K-9 unit supervisor, along with her K-9 partner, “Brina,” a three-year-old German Shepherd narcotics detection dog.
Evidence of the partnership’s success can be traced to nearly five years ago. In 2013 during a large scale bomb threat at the Salisbury Mall in Salisbury, Maryland, 436th SFS deployed several assets from the base to assist. This is just one example of how both units utilizes each other’s capabilities. The ongoing partnership continues to better prepare and support both law enforcement agencies.
“We have been coming up here since 2012,” said Trotter. “The training we receive here has by far, enhanced [Edo’s] ability to perform his mission in the civilian community.”
Military Working Dogs receive 45 days of detection training and 45 days of patrol training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, before being sent out to bases needing a MWD.
“When we receive a MWD from JBSA-Lackland, Texas, it will be either an explosive or narcotics detector dog with a patrol certification,” said Tech. Sgt. Dominique Singleton, 436th SFS military working dog kennel master.
To support further development and training of these MWDs, the 436th SFS uses small amounts of real narcotics and specific explosive compounds in a controlled training environment. These realistic training aids along with the controlled training areas makes Dover AFB an ideal training location; fostering a continuing partnership between civilian and military law enforcement agencies.
“[Brina] struggled a little bit; she’s never done a hide that was buried under the ground or rocks but she worked through it, worked it out and it was a really good problem for that reason,” said Edgar. “Most of the time we are doing vehicle scans or building scans. Every once in a while we will check the shoulder of a road to see if something was thrown out, but again it’s sitting on top of the grass.”
For working dogs, their endurance for problem solving is measured in minutes for the amount of time the dog will work a problem before they become overwhelmed. Ideally, a working dog would have about 45 minutes of problem solving endurance.
“I started coming up here because I was hearing that these guys were doing 40 minute problems and when I was doing drug problems, my dog was definitely at a threshold," Edgar said. "If she didn’t find something after six or seven minutes, she started to get very frustrated.”
Since training at Dover AFB, Brina’s problem solving tolerance averages between 30 and 35 minutes.
“I know working side-by-side with other departments, Edo’s tolerance or lasting span is much greater compared to those that don’t come up here to train, it says a lot about the kennel and a lot about Dover AFB,” said Trotter. “It’s absolutely the best training you can get and it’s free.”
Singleton and Staff Sgt. Jared Brown, 436th SFS MWD trainer, staged two separate areas containing narcotics or explosives for Edo and Brina to be critiqued on including their respective handler.
“It’s nice to be in a career field or position where I can not only help the off-base law enforcement officers but also get a lot of information from them to give to our handlers,” said Brown. “We are tough with our critiques. They take information and critiques well and we do the same.”