News: Canine units graduate
Release Date: Friday, October 08 2010, 04:11 PM
An additional five Firearms and Explosive Detection Dogs and their handlers have successfully graduated from a 13-week course to join the ranks of the AFP’s National Canine Unit.
Federal Agent’s Timothy Kirke, Birsan Kasumovic, Peter Bassett, Steven Smith, Protective Service Officer Erik Kohnenkampf graduated from the Firearms and Explosive Detector Dog Handlers course yesterday at the National Canine Operations Centre in Canberra.
Their canines Eno, Flint, Phoenix, Dory and Maya will join them as they are deployed to airports across the country in the coming weeks.
AFP Deputy Commissioner National Security Peter Drennan spoke on the importance of the graduation has on increasing the ability of the AFP in policing Australian airports and protecting the security of passengers.
“Canines play an important part in aviation security and are an integral part of the AFP’s role in protecting security at Australian airports,” he said.
Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor said the graduation marks the first successful course since funding for the AFP’s Firearms and Explosive Detection Dog capability was increased by $17.8 million in the last Federal Budget.
“The additional funding injected by the Australian Government is a reflection of the crucial work that these dog and handler teams do.”
“Their mere presence is a strong deterrent to would-be criminals and terrorists but they are also an active force in keeping Australia safe,” he said.
The five graduating canine units are part of a program to boost canine screening capabilities at Australia’s major airports. An additional 17 Firearms and Explosive Detection Dog Teams will be operational by mid next year as part of the funding initiative.
Federal Agent Bassett reflected on his training at the National Canine Facility and thanked the training team for the effort they put into the course.
“We couldn’t have asked for more assistance throughout the course, and I would like to thank everyone involved as I know that I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said.