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News | July 25, 2014

DIA K-9 goes airborne

By DIA Public Affairs

DIA’s police K-9 unit trains every day; they go to abandoned buildings filled with hidden explosives, they train with K-9 units at other agencies, and sometimes they train on boats and helicopters.

Why? If a large-scale terrorist attack were to happen, DIA K-9 would be able to get to different locations much faster by boat or plane, but the dogs have to be just as prepared as the handlers.

Recently, DIA K9 trained with the Army 12th Aviation Brigade and the 289th Military Police Company. They took the dogs up into helicopters to train the dogs for situations when they might have to travel in a helicopter to support another location.

Inspecting a vehicle on the ground is more difficult after being on a helicopter because the dogs sometimes act differently after the ride. Many of the Army dogs have deployed and, like people, may have had experiences that make them react differently to the helicopter.

One DIA K-9 police officer, accompanied by his dog, Dolly, said “[The] most interesting part was seeing how the dogs reacted to different environments because you don’t know what to expect. Some of the dogs who have been on multiple deployments wouldn’t get on the helicopters.”

DIA’s dogs maintained their presence of mind in the new environment and were able to perform their training flawlessly. As partners, the officer and dog would deploy together in the event of a crisis, so they train together to prepare for a variety of security and threat scenarios.

A small team of three officer and dog pairs, DIA’s young K-9 team hopes to expand. Only a part of DIA since January 2013, they have become a familiar and essential piece of the agency’s security.