Regional News

VTA gets two new bomb-sniffing dogs

KCBA News
November 21, 2018 10:26 am

POSTED: NOV 20 2018 04:58PM PST

VIDEO POSTED: NOV 20 2018 04:44PM PST

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday revealed two new four-legged crime fighters.
The dogs named Nala and Yoshi may be cute, but they have a serious job to sniff out explosives on trains and busses.

“They’re about 1 1/2 years old and they come from Ireland. In no way shape or form are they aggressive. They like to play,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Marcus Barbour.

Barbour, a father of two who served two tours in Iraq with the Army, is Nala’s handler.

“I’d say the sense of smell is pretty great. We can take very small accounts of our training aids which are placed on small filters and the dogs will find them,” said Barbour.

During a demonstration Tuesday, the handlers showed how the dogs would alert them when catching a scent of dynamite that was planted for training.

The addition now brings the total number of K9s at the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office to nine.
But these two are the only ones dedicated solely to transportation.

“We know that transit systems are often risks for attacks. We want to make sure we have the very best equipment and training to be able to prevent anything,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

The K9s cost about $12,000 each, paid for with a Homeland Security grant.

VTA says they will be used as part of the safety plan for Levi’s Stadium ahead of the college championship football game in January.

“VTA actually covers 346 square miles so that’s both bus and light rail. They’ll be doing random sweeps of our different stations and bus stops and keeping everyone safe,” said VTA spokeswoman Holly Perez.

The Sheriff’s Department says the dogs will work with their handlers 4 days a week, 10-hour shifts and start on Thanksgiving.

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