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K-9 Explosive Detection

K-9Our Operations Staff is highly trained and experienced in Explosive Detection and Bomb Threat Management. In the explosive detection field, our Operations Staff, relies on K-9 Partners, “dogs”, to assist them in the detection of Explosives and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s).

Just as not all security officers are the same, not all explosive detection teams are the same.  Starside, starts off, by using only European imported K-9’s,  Yes this is more expensive then utilizing K-9’s from the U.S. however when choosing a working dog to be utilized for explosive detection Starside feels no expense should be spared to get the best.

Our K-9’s are first chosen based on temperament.  We often work in and amongst crowds of people, it is important to have a K-9 which is comfortable and friendly around humans.  Next is Drive.  Drive to a K-9 is simply the desire to perform the job.  In the explosive detection field this is simply the desire for the K-9 to search for the explosive; the desire to do the job, which for the K-9 is simply playing.  The K-9 is playing a game of hide and seek they are looking for their toy.  How would you like a job which is simply playing all day?

K-9All of Starside’s Explosive Detection K-9’s and handlers attend one of, if not the longest Explosive detection training courses available to both Law Enforcement and Private Sector.  This training consists of 600 hours of training before they are allowed to attempt to certify in Explosive Detection.  This training includes but is not limited to Explosive Recognition, Threat Assessments, Search Techniques, Hand Searches, Mail Room Screening, Bio, and Chemical Weapon Issues.

After training, the new team is certified through the same training group which trains and certifies numerous Governmental Explosive detection teams.  When the team passes the test, they are allowed to perform searches and must maintain ongoing training, daily, monthly and recertify yearly.

An important part of Starside’s training policy and regiment is that only real true live explosives are used.  Our K-9’s are not allowed near or around what are referred to as pseudo, or fake explosives as many explosive detection K-9’s are trained with.  It is our feeling that our K-9’s and handlers when on a job are not looking for fake explosives so why train with fake explosives.  You would not want to fly on a plane with a pilot who has only flown a simulator, why use a K-9, who can only detect simulated explosives.
After this initial training Starside’s Explosive Detection teams continue with nearly daily on going training and yearly recertification.   To assure quality, Starside certifies their K-9’s by a third party to assure quality and non-biasness.

Starside’s Explosive Detection K-9’s train alongside of the Los Angeles and Orange County Sheriff’s Departments Bomb Squads, along with the FBI, Los Angeles, Explosive Detection K-9’s.  We are the only private sector teams invited to do so. 

Starside has deployed Explosive Detection K-9’s in situations were hundreds or thousands of people are gathering for an event such as Corporate Annual Stock Holder Meetings, Fundraisers Movie Premiers, Aviation Sector, and Music Video Shoots.  Starside’s K-9 Division is manned by only the best K-9’s and handlers that have experience in both military and law enforcement.
With bomb threat management, Starside is able to assist businesses with the development and implementation of protocols and procedures in the event they receive a bomb threat, including the training of personnel in mail room screening, suspicious packages and other anti explosive training. 

Our Operations Staff and their Partners “K-9's” have been pre-screened by many U.S. Airline Carriers and can travel throughout the U.S. and the World to provide you with the safety and security knowing that the area you are in is clear of explosives.  By pre-screening with the Airlines, “K-9's” are able to fly with our staff at no additional charge. Starside can provide additional K-9’s for major events nationwide.

The Anatomy of a K-9 Explosive Search

We are often asked how is a search for explosives accomplished. What goes into the search? What can your Dogs actually find?

Starside Security’s K-9 Unit performs searches much differently then many if not all other Private Detection K-9 teams.  Our process to complete the search begins at first contact with a client or a prospective client.  First we obviously need to know what needs to be searched, and the reason for the search.  In Addition we need to know the time frame in which we will have to complete the search.

The reason for this need of information is so that we can best successfully complete the search for you.  We need to evaluate how many K-9’s will be needed, if we need any special equipment to complete the search, if the search is a covert or an overt search.

How does Starside Security conduct searches compared to other private companies?

A typical detection dog service will arrive at your location, ask what needs to be searched, then bring their K-9’s in and search what you request to be searched.  Then it is back into the vehicle and away they go.  At Starside Security, our searches begin the minute you contact us. As we will ask a series of questions to assist us in conducting a threat assessment on the search you are requesting.  When the date comes for the actual search, Starside Security will arrive with the correct number of K-9 Teams to conduct the search in a most thorough manner. 

Our handlers will first evaluate the location.  They will search the location by hand utilizing various tools to look for and detect not only explosives but also other dangerous items which may injure the K-9’s and any humans.   By searching by hand prior to utilizing a K-9, Starside Security is able to provide a more in depth search then what is conducted by other private security K-9 Teams.

How big of an area can a K-9 Search, or how long can a K-9 Search before they need a rest?

The area in which a K-9 can search is fully dependant on the environment in which the search is to be conducted, and is relevant to the time in which it takes the K-9 to thoroughly sniff all of the areas in which an explosive can be placed.  In general a K-9 can continuously search for 20 to 40 minutes, with the ambient temperature and the humidity being the biggest factors.  Too hot, or too cold, reduces their search time.  It is very important for a handler to be able to recognize when a K-9 is no longer searching but only going through the motions.  Due to the close relationship between K-9 and Handler, the K-9’s will try very hard to please their Explosive Detection Handler.  The K-9’s know the Handlers want them to search so they will act as if they are, in an effort to make the Handler happy.  At Starside Security, we train hard to be sure we can tell when our Explosive Detection K-9’s need a break.

What can your Explosive Detection K-9’s actually find?  Humans? Drugs ? ?????

Starside Security’s Explosive Detection K-9’s are what is referred to as a Single Purpose K-9. They have one purpose and that is to detect explosives, nothing else.  This is done for a number of reasons.  The biggest reason is safety.  Any K-9 which is able to detect drugs and explosives is a major safety problem.  There is no way to tell if the K-9 has detected a Drug or an Explosive.  If the handler were to think the K-9 detected drugs, when in fact it was an explosive, the handler could set the explosive off, when they were to open a package, or some other compartment.

Also to be sure our K-9’s are very friendly and sociable they are only trained in detection, they receive no training in biting or any aggressive behavior.  This enables our handlers to concentrate solely on Explosive Detection training and also assures that our K-9’s can work in and around people with out any concern of aggressive behavior. 

As far as explosives are concerned, Our Explosive Detection K-9 teams are able to detect 13 specific explosives.  These explosives include both Commercial and Military grade explosives.  We do not list the actual explosives due to security reasons.  We do not wish the bad guys to know what we can locate. 

Starside Security Explosive Detection K-9’s in addition to Explosives also have the ability to detect Firearms.  This additional detection ability is due to the K-9 having the ability to detect gun powder.

 And of course they are great at detecting food, so be careful where you leave your lunch or snack when our wonderful hardworking K-9’s are in the area. 

How do you know if the Explosive Detection Team has located an Explosive?

Starside Security’s explosive Detection K-9’s alert their handlers with what is referred to as a passive alert.  What this means is the K-9 alerts the handler of the presence of an explosive by a means other then aggressively scratching at, or biting at what contains the explosive. Again for safety reason the last thing you want is a K-9 which will touch an item which is thought to contain explosives.

For further information on Starside’s K-9 Division email bombdetection@starside.com or Call us at (310) 417-9999