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TSA wants bomb-sniffing dogs at every major US airport

The agency currently uses 222 dog teams to sniff for explosive material. 140 of them are trained to sniff humans.
TSA behavior detection officer Shawn Hurley directs his dog Lewie to conduct screeninReuters

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration's Peter Neffenger said Friday he would like to see explosive-sniffingdogsatallof the nation's largestairports.

Thedogswouldallow cleared passengers to pass directly into "pre-check" lanes that include a metal detector but do not require passengers to remove their shoes or bagged liquids,Neffenger said.

"I would likely to dramatically increase the number ofdogswe have," Neffenger told reporters atTSAheadquarters.

The transportation oversight agency currentlyuses 222 dog teams to sniff for explosive materials around cargo, 140 of which are trained to sniff passengers as well.

RELATED:Big jump in gun seizures at airport security checkpoints

Neffenger said he would likeallof the dog teams to be trained to sniff passengers by the end of the year or the beginning of 2017.

Though his term asTSAhead is due to end when President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017, Neffenger's goal is forTSAto deploy 500 dog teams atallof the high-volume U.S.airportssome time after his departure.

Thedogsare acquired by the U.S. Department of Defense from breeders in Europe and take about 10 months to train, Neffenger said. That training time limits how manydogshe can deploy immediately.

Neffenger said replacing the current security screening procedureused by most passengers with bomb-sniffingdogswould speed up lines atairports.

Those lines at security checkpoints are both inconvenient for travelers and also create a security risk.

Neffenger, who happened to be landing at the Brussels airport shortly after it was attacked on March 22, said moving lines would make it harder for attackers to pinpoint an area to cause maximum devastation.

 

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