Battelle, S&T Helps EXD K-9 Teams get REDDI (Learn More, Video)

Harnessing a dog’s natural ability to help law enforcement sniff out & identify explosives requires specialized training and testing.

Many detection canine teams, however, have limited access to critical training materials and limited time to establish rigorous training scenarios.

Therefore, canine and explosives experts are reaching out to state and local law enforcement across the United States, assisted by Battelle researchers, to better understand current capability gaps and to provide vital education, testing, and training to the nearly 4,000 canine teams working in those agencies.

Image Credit: DHS S&T
Image Credit: DHS S&T

It’s not quite teaching old dogs new tricks, but it is acknowledgment that these hard-working and effective canine teams don’t always have easy access to the latest knowledge, tactics, and materials.

Calling it REDDI, the Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative, The Department of Homeland Security’s Advanced Research Project Agency dispatched its team of trainers, evaluators, and scientist early this spring, and have continued with additional sessions in Miami in June, and Long Beach, CA in July.

(To improve training for explosives detection, EXD (Explosive Detection Canines), develops low-cost, non-hazardous training aids that can be used to improve and test canine ability to detect new threats. Courtesy of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate and YouTube)

“REDDI seeks to improve the operational effectiveness of the law enforcement explosive detection canine teams while informing S&T on where our research investment needs to be focused going forward.”

Don Roberts, DHS S&T Detection Canine Program Manager
Don Roberts, DHS S&T Detection Canine Program Manager

“We are setting up real-world problems,” said Don Roberts, DHS S&T Detection Canine Program Manager.

It is all in an effort to help the canine teams realize their full potential by arming them with key information on threat materials and recent attacks, exposing them to relevant operational scenarios, and providing an opportunity for valuable odor training.

The DHS’s Explosive Detection Canine Program is working with subject matter experts from Battelle, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division.

“At Battelle, we have more than 20 years of experience in canine-focused research, development, testing, and evaluation,” said Kevin Good, Senior Research Scientist.

“With our teams of engineers, chemists, biologists, explosives experts and veterinarians, we are perfectly suited to provide the insight and tools necessary to understand and advance the performance of our nation’s canine teams.”