- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — Eight canine officers from the Royal Thai Police and six from U.S. fire and police departments graduated yesterday from the Canine Training Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

They will join more than 450 police officers from 15 countries, including the United States, who have completed the premier explosives detection canine training program.

ATF spokesman Andrew L. Lluberes said each graduate completed 10 weeks of training with an explosives detection canine, a Labrador that then is assigned to accompany the handler home, where they will serve as a team.

Mr. Lluberes said the agency’s Explosives Detection Canine Course, begun in 1990 in conjunction with the State Department’s Office of Antiterrorism Assistance, has trained 482 teams since its inception.

He said they are deployed throughout the United States and in 19 other countries, including Iraq, where they assist in counterterrorism and infrastructure protection.

“My commendations for a great training program,” said police Maj. Veenawat Sriyam, the Thai team leader. “This training will help us improve our knowledge and expertise on the job and is a great opportunity for our police force.”

Mr. Lluberes said the Royal Thai Police join alumni from Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Poland, Qatar and South Africa.

Yesterday’s graduating class, he said, included students from fire departments in Arlington and Lewisville, Texas; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the police department of the University of Reno, Nev.; and the Fairfax County Police Department.

ATF instructors train the dogs, which are certified on an annual basis to recognize and locate 19,000 explosive compounds.

The instructors also teach basic detection search of post-explosion scenes; vehicle, building and aircraft searches; and open-area searches for weapons and shell casings.

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