Last week, we shared Part 1 of our interview with Sal Lifrieri, President of Protective Countermeasures – where we learned a little bit about the company behind 120 Broadway’s favorite furry, four-legged security officer, Zorro. This week, Lifrieri shares with us what these dogs go through and what it takes to become part of the K9 security team.
How and when do you select your dogs?
Fred Hopper runs our canine program. He conducts a series of tests that have been developed, and using those tests, he selects maybe one out of 10 dogs that meets his needs. He likes dogs to be about 15 to 20 months old, as they are mature enough to handle the rigorous training.
How long is the initial training?
Training is 16 weeks for obedience, tracking, agility and eight weeks for scent detection (these are basic schools).
Do the dogs go home with their handlers?
Yes, the dogs play and spend time with their handlers and their families, but they are always on a strict diet and training schedule.
Are the dogs rewarded with food?
No. Because of the strong bond and incentive to play built through training, the dogs are rewarded with toys only. If they complete their task, then it’s playtime.
What qualifications does a handler need to have to work a dog?
Fred requires military or law enforcement certification as a minimum for handlers. He does not use active-duty law enforcement on a part-time basis as they are subject to recall and may not be available in an emergency.
Are your K9 Teams certified?
Yes, all teams are certified to Police Bomb Dog Certification and are trained in the latest explosives compounds and can detect all explosives listed on the current US Federal Register of Explosives.
Is the team looking only for bombs as they walk around?
Security evaluations are performed by each handler daily as they examine critical infrastructure with a monthly report provided as part of our service.
Are the “partners” kept together?
All handlers are assigned to a specific canine partner. It is important that each knows the other and the handlers are aware of the dog’s idiosyncrasies.
Very important – does Zorro root for the Yankees or Mets?
Actually, he likes basketball better and roots for the Timberwolves…..go figure!
For more information on the K9 program or other security services provided by Protective Countermeasures, visit www.protectivecountermeasures.com or call (914) 576-8706.