When K9 “Kachina” retired nearly two months ago on a Friday, her handler, Master Deputy Oliver Alkire, was back in class the following Monday to begin training for a second four-legged partner at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive National Canine Training Center in Front Royal, Virginia. While most of the canines in the Accelerant Detection program are just over a year old, he was surprised to learn that one of the seven dogs procured was a few years older and had already graduated from the program before. Last week, he and 4-year-old K9 “Blondie” graduated and will be one of only 65 ATF trained accelerant detection teams in the United States. Blondie was initially trained for Guiding Eyes for the Blind before being acquired by the ATF for the accelerant detection canine program. She was transferred to the Office of the State Fire Marshal after two years with another agency. Master Deputy Alkire and Blondie and six other handlers from across the country graduated last Thursday. This certification program is an intensive 12-week school focused on accelerant detection canine methodology, fire chemistry, safety and first aid, health, wellness, and several investigative disciplines. The practical skills and team exercises […]
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