Behind The Badge – Airport K9 Unit Of Bangor PD
24 hours a day, seven days a week police departments across the state and across the nation are working to keep us safe.From home, to work, to school and everywhere in between they are there on the lookout.And it’s not just humans, dogs are part of the force.The Bangor Police Department has three officers and three dogs patroling the airport.”We work specifically explosive detection here at the Bangor International Airport,” said Officer Dan Scripture, who has been with the K9 unit at the airport for the entire five years of the program.It is not as simple as wanting to work with a K9. These officers went through nearly three months of training in Texas, and then a dog was chosen to fit their personalities so both dog and man can succeed. “We have to have classes on explosives, we have to have classes on animal care, classes on animal behavior,” said Scripture. “And then you have to go work with your dog on a daily basis, and then someone has to instruct you on how to properly work that dog. The dogs are pretty well trained when you get there.”After the pairing is made, they are partners around the clock.”The dog comes home with me, he’s with me pretty much 24/7, 24 hours a day that dog is with me, he is very attached to me so to speak” said Scripture of his 9 year old Belgian Malinois, Endumin. “I am the only one that really bonded with him down at Lackland AFB that’s how it was tailored, that’s how it was meant to be.”"It’s still a partner,” said Officer Jeff Small, who has also spent the last 5 years patrolling BIA with a K9 partner. “You know we work together just like on the road, and we look out for each other and I rely on him and he relies on me.”Early morning flights, late night arrivals, the officers and dogs work around the airport, and they cover every inch of it, from the bag check-in, to the carousel, to the passenger screening areas, the seating, and even out onto the Tarmac, and they are always working. “We have to be able to get ready to move and go get an unattended bag, be able to have a task of searching bags, so you’re going to have to be able to be quick and portable with the dog as well,” said Scripture. “We go everywhere there is nowhere these dogs really don’t go, my dog is extremely portable he is very durable, he is rough and tumble and there is no environment, from snow, rain, nothing seems to bother him, he doesn’t get distracted and he doesn’t mind loud noises”"You don’t always need to tell him to work,” said Small of his 7 year old Black Lab Jovic. “Cause he is working, he may not look like he’s working but his nose is always going.”Because they never know where they are going to be or what they are going to be doing, they train constantly.”we try to train using different objectives each time whether it’s bags or cars or terminal, each time you try to think up a different scenario,” said Scripture. “You have to give them something to work for and they have to be hard wired eventually to find things and know that they find things in this environment, and know that they find things on an airplane, that they find things in cars, cause they will search and dogs are really smart and they remember”The dogs are expensive and so is their training, but they work pretty cheap, wanting just praise, love and fun in return, said Scripture. “They’ll work for that, that is their pay. My dog will work all day, there is no food in there, it’s just the toy, it’s the reward, I say that it’s just a reward, but to him it is everything, he identifies with that as a playful experience, they remember it and they thrive for it”The toys are their pay check because the dogs, just like people, need to enjoy what they are doing every day. “You want your dog to be happier when they come in to work,” said Scripture. “If you have a working dog, so they’ll be eager to come in there as well.”While the dogs may look or act friendly, and you may want to pet them, they are working Police Dogs and should be left alone and allowed to do their jobs.