The Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthogonal detector Guidelines (SWGDOG) is a forum aimed at addressing the broadly expressed need to improve the performance, reliability, and courtroom defensibility of detector dog teams. It is also charged with recommending best approaches to the use of detector dogs in conjunction with electronic detection devices, or so-called orthogonal detectors. Modeled after the successful precedent of a variety of other scientific working groups, SWGDOG aims develop internationally recognized consensus-based best practice guidelines developed by a membership of respected scientists, practitioners, and policy makers representing diverse backgrounds within the detection community. SWGDOG guidelines will be made available to the public via the SWGDOG website. SWGDOG is funded by the National Institute of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Transportation Security Administration.

The overall VISION of SWGDOG is TO ENHANCE THE PERFORMANCE OF DETECTOR DOG TEAMS.

SWGDOG is chaired by an academician. Dr. Kenneth Furton, an analytical chemist at Florida International University who is an expert on the chemical basis of detector dog alerts to forensic specimens. The Vice Chair and Chair of the SWGDOG Membership Committee is David Kontny, who has decades of hands-on experience in the detector dog community. Aside from bringing a wealth of complementary and relevant knowledge to the table, they will be promoting an unbiased, scientifically-supported (not to mention practical) approach to the initiative. That said, SWGDOG is fundamentally a consensus-based, group effort. Most of the actually work will be performed within subject-specific subcommittees comprised of anywhere from 6 to 14 members, whose expertise reflects the particular issues at hand. So someone like Dr. Furton might be involved in the research and technology subcommittee, whereas someone coming out of a handling or training background could be assigned to subcommittees addressing those issues. Because SWGDOG is a cooperative effort, no one individual’s professional background will characterize its findings.

If I want to find out more about SWGDOG and/or get involved, how do I do that?

You have several options. The website, www.swgdog.org, will provide updates on the progress of the project. You may also want to be on our email list to be alerted when draft documents are posted to the site for comment. All draft best practices will be available for public comment for at least 60 days and all comments will be considered by the appropriate subcommittees. Please contact Jessie Greb, SWGDOG Executive Secretary, jgreb00@fiu.edu. You may also contact members of the Executive Board with any specific questions or comments. Contact information for members of the Board is posted under their links. We regret that we can not accept new members at present, but from time to time we may need to, so if you are interested in being on file for consideration and have not already contacted us, please send a brief relevant bio to jgreb001@fiu.edu and indicate on which subcommittee(s) you would be interested in serving.