Starting in 1998, IFRI/NFSTC Detector Dog Team Certification program working with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Contraband Interdiction Program and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and other partners established the first Statewide K-9 trainer and detection team certification program with independent scientific validation. The program is intended to provide recommended scientific standards of practice for trainers and organizations and to make available an additional layer of credentials for detection teams. The ongoing goal of this program is to continue to advance scientifically sound detection K-9 validation programs which are internationally recognized and which improve contraband interdiction from local enforcement to courtroom defensibility.
Annually, more than 100 detection teams from dozens of different agencies across the State of Florida including all of the FHP’s narcotic and explosive detection teams have been certified through this program. In addition, teams have been certified in other States as well as internationally including Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The program includes all types of detection canines including arson, currency, drugs, explosives, persons, pests and weapons and since 1998 has been offered free of charge to agencies via grants and public service.
IFRI & NFSTC hosted the 2nd National Detector Dog Conference (NDDC) from May 22-25, 2001 in North Miami Beach, Florida which brought together more than 30 invited speakers and 110 participants from dozens of different agencies and various countries. IFRI & NFSTC also hosted the 3rd NDDC from May 19-23, 2003 with the theme of “The Expanding Role of Detection Canines in Homeland Security”. This meeting brought together over 40 invited speakers and 130 attendees including many of the world’s leading experts in the field of detector dogs including scientists, handlers, trainers and administrators. On October 24th, 2011 IFRI & NFSTC hosted an explosives detector dog handler workshop titled “Controlled Odor Mimic Permeation Systems (COMPS) from Development to Deployment and Beyond”. This workshop brought together more than 40 local and state explosive canine handlers to showcase new non-hazardous canine training aid devices developed by IFRI.
Draft best practices for detector dog teams have been developed and refined and published at www.swgdog.org.