Justin Kelley

The responsibility of any security team is clear: keep employees, guests and patrons safe. To mitigate the most consequential threats in today’s environment, organizations must embrace a comprehensive and layered security posture which includes a smart blend of technology, human and canine elements. Let’s take a look at how detection canines can be deployed to bring greater depth and effectiveness to a variety of organizations when it comes to the active shooter threat.

The Current Landscape

A wave of high-profile mass shootings so far this year – including the Buffalo, NY, supermarket shooting that killed 10 and the school shooting that tragically left 21 dead in Uvalde, TX – serve as harsh reminders on the rampant crime plaguing America. Last month, The Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) released its mid-year 2022 crime report, examining crime data from 29 cities. Their findings point to a continued high rate of violent crime that requires ongoing diligence and the expansion of security strategies with proven effectiveness.

Firearms Detection Canines (FDC) are an excellent tool for detecting and mitigating the risk associated with concealed weapons. MSA Security®, An Allied Universal® Company, added FDC Teams to its suite of high-consequence threat protection solutions earlier this year. Imprintation and training take place in Pennsylvania with MSA partner Shallow Creek Kennels. Canines are imprinted to detect odors unique to firearms and training is tailored to replicate real-world scenarios for optimal success in the field. Every day, more than 800 MSA Detection Teams are hard at work throughout the globe. Here are just a few of the many deployments where gun-sniffing dogs are helping keep us safe.

Commercial Buildings and Offices

The flexibility of canines is a tremendous asset for busy commercial spaces as they are capable of quickly adjusting to changing traffic flow and operational needs. A Firearms Detection Team may be required for lobby screening during the early morning rush and then move to the loading dock or mailroom to screen during delivery hours. Building perimeter sweeps can occur regularly throughout the day and increasing activity at various access points can be successfully addressed at a moment’s notice.

Stadiums and Arenas

Canines are effective at establishing a secondary perimeter at venues where large crowds gather, pushing potential threats away from busy choke points and congested areas. While technology, such as magnetometers, is critical for screening, a qualified canine team will help prevent a person with a concealed weapon from getting close to a crowded checkpoint, where loss of life would be more likely. Teams are capable of flexing to address gate perimeter screening during fan entry and conduct sweeps within the field perimeter for person-borne threats – in a way that does not hinder fan experience. They are trained in explosive odor tracking, with the capacity to follow a scent to its source. Unlike screening equipment, canines and handlers can move quickly to meet changing needs such as performing static sweeps, screening vehicles, loading docks or trashcans, or clearing random unattended baggage.

Landmarks and Transit

In high-trafficked, high-profile landmark sites and transit hubs, Firearms Detection Canine Teams balance screening with throughput and operational efficiencies. They provide a less-invasive, speedy screening option without disrupting patron flow. Canines are nimble enough to adjust to fluctuations in activity throughout the day or seasonally, pivoting to loading dock, vehicle, mailroom or perimeter sweeps. Their very presence at these high-profile sites can be a strong deterrent, encouraging hostile actors to select a different target.

Retail Stores and Malls

Recently, a 20-year-old man fired more than 100 rounds inside a mall food court in Greenwood, IN, killing three people before being shot dead by an armed bystander. Shopping centers throughout the country are looking to mitigate this type of active shooter risk with canines. In addition to serving as a physical deterrence, teams quickly sweep large areas for persons carrying weapons. Many high-end retailers are also choosing to deploy Firearms Detection Canine Teams to combat in-store crime and smash-and-grab incidents.

In our next blog, we will examine how innovative X-ray technology, such as MSA Security’s SmartTech®, An Allied Universal® Solution, meets the critical requirements of a layered security plan within these same deployment environments.

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