Valentine’s Day is a bittersweet time for people connected to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 17 people lost their lives that day, and another 17 were injured. A gunman walked into school with a semi-automatic weapon and opened fire. After the shooting, he escaped on foot by blending in with the students.
And so every time we hear of another active shooter tragedy, we think how could a Vapor Detection Dog have prevented that happening. To be honest there are so many of these wretched and unnecessary events in the United States it is a subject which is constantly on our radar. The challenge is to get more people aware of how Vapor Detection Dogs can offer a safe and low key way to identify a person carrying any form of explosive (including bullets) in what should be the safe setting of a school, hospital, mall, cinema, airport or hotel.
Word is getting out there. Vapor Detection Dogs are on patrol in more shopping malls around the country, they are on patrol at the Superbowl, and they are extending their reach across the United States to enhance security planning for new domestic customers.
They are in short an American security success story. In a program which began at The University of Alabama in Auburn Vapor Detection Dogs are trained to detect CONCEALED body-worn/carried explosives or firearms on an individual that is moving through a crowded public space such as a school. Unlike traditional security K9’s, which are trained to detect statically placed explosive devices or hidden firearms, Vapor Detection Dogs are able to detect concealed threats on a moving target. This is because Vapor Detection Dogs are extensively trained to search for the odor itself as it moves through the area.
This is what enables a Vapor Detection Dog to do what others consistently and effectively cannot: follow an individual (or target) with a concealed explosive device or firearm to the source in real time, and while the target is in motion. Additionally, Vapor Detection Dogs are socially and environmentally conditioned throughout their training processes to work in high-flow pedestrian areas. They can accurately screen hundreds of people unobtrusively passing through an entry point in a non-intrusive way. The technology and training programs involved in getting these dogs in place produce versatile K9 teams that can be deployed in settings ranging from concert venues to airports.
In relation to any mass shooting tragedy we ask ourselves if a Vapor Detection Dog had been on patrol what is the likelihood that the shooter would have been identified as carrying explosive material being the bullets in the guns - much sooner and therefore prevented from carrying out this wicked deed.
So, if we put this fact into a risk assessment framework in simple terms how does that work? The trouble with active shooters in many situations is that their appearance is totally random. Intel from law enforcement cannot predict a person in mental anguish who one day decides to pick up a gun and go on a killing rampage.
Instead, we have to look at the sorts of venues where active shootings have occurred. A report in Time Magazine this week refers to 37 years of mass shootings in the US, with an infographic depicting the numbers of people killed and wounded by active shooters. In this graphic, the worst incident is by far t