SACRAMENTO COUNTY — There are some new officers reporting for duty at the Sacramento International Airport TSA line but instead of using metal detectors, they’re using their snouts.
“‘The nose knows,’ is what they always say and it does,” Sacramento County Sheriff’s K9 handler Jerry Jarrett said.
Travelers will probably see the four-legged officers the next time they make their way through airport security.
“The greatest threat against aviation is explosives and so if we can do anything to detect and deter that, it keeps the entire system secure and that’s why we’re happy to have them as part of our team,” TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said.
The dogs trained with their handlers for months to be able to detect explosive devices.
“She gets a more excited behavior, and then her final is just to sit and stare at it,” Jarrett said.
But to the dogs, working and playing aren’t all that different.
“Only certain dogs really can do this. They have to have a drive to work and they have to have a really special relationship with their handler and that’s what we see here with these dogs,” Dankers said.
Jarrett and his K9 Bella Bell are very close.
“She lives with me. She’s my best friend at work and my best friend at home,” he said.
It’s those relationships with their handler from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department that set the Sacramento International Airport’s K9s apart.
“Sacramento is one of only five airports in the country to have a law enforcement handler working in the security checkpoint with TSA,” Dankers said.
And while they’re making sure our airport is more secure, these dogs are also paying homage to the deadliest terror attack in American history.
“She’s named after 911 victim Nina Bell, who perished in, I believe, Tower 2,” Jarrett said. “They lost their lives, but they’re not being forgotten and they’re able to continue to be there with us and work with us and maybe stop things from happening again.”