Oakland International Airport welcomes passenger-screening canines ahead of summer travel season

Oakland, CA: (May 18, 2018) – In what is expected to be the busiest summer travel season ever nationwide, officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) showcased some of the key assets they will use to keep passengers departing Oakland International Airport (OAK) safe and secure: highly visible canines, specially trained to detect explosives and explosive components.

TSA’s use of Passenger Screening Canines (PSCs), which started recently at OAK, will enhance security while assisting in the efficiency of screening operations. PSCs are trained to work in a busy transportation environment, using their keen sense of smell when working in and around travelers and their belongings.

“TSA is thrilled to add PSCs to our security operations at Oakland International Airport,” said David Von Damm, TSA Federal Security Director at OAK. “We are committed to providing the best security and a positive passenger experience for our Oakland travelers throughout the security process. Our partners at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Port of Oakland are some of the best in the business.”

“We are very pleased that TSA has introduced the use of Passenger Screening Canines in Oakland to further enhance the detection of explosives,” said Port of Oakland Director of Aviation Bryant L. Francis.  “We could not be more pleased with the work that our local TSA team and our security partners do here. The Airport is gaining in popularity and is becoming a more popular and highly utilized air transportation center.  TSA has done a fine job of ensuring that our safety and security profile remain at the forefront of our collective mission.”

Passengers departing OAK can expect to see PSCs and their handlers working in the security checkpoint. In addition, travelers will see the ACSO canines and their handlers working in other areas of the airport.

Canines are tethered to their handlers and may be seen working in close proximity to passengers at the airport. A handler is trained to read the dog’s behavior when it identifies a potential threat. If a dog alerts its handler to something suspicious, there is an established procedure in place to resolve the alarm.

TSA uses layers of security – both seen and unseen by the public – in coordination with airport security operations to protect passengers and the nation’s transportation system. These specially-trained canines are an effective tool in detecting concealed explosives, which are known to be the greatest threat to the aviation system.

Explosive detection canine teams, which include a handler and a canine, have been through 10-12 weeks of intensive training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Teams are regularly tested and are required to go through a rigorous annual recertification to demonstrate effectiveness and continued proficiency.

Working canines should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers. Nationwide, TSA has more than 1,000 explosive detection canine teams working at airports, mass transit facilities and maritime locations.

About Oakland International Airport

Oakland International is the fourth busiest airport in California and second busiest in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving over 13 million travelers annually, OAK is the closest airport to the region’s top business and tourism venues. It is also the closest airport for most local residents.

Oakland’s air service roster to over 60 nonstop destinations is offered on 14 different airline brands – seven of which operate with OAK as their sole gateway into the San Francisco Bay region.

The vision of Oakland International Airport is to offer customers a world-class experience and be the airport of choice for Bay Area residents and visitors alike. OAK is operated by The Port of Oakland, which also oversees the Oakland seaport and 20 miles of waterfront. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States.

For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps, and details on shopping, dining, transportation, and more, visit www.oaklandairport.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About TSA

The Transportation Security Administration was created to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce. TSA uses a risk-based strategy and works closely with the transportation, law enforcement and intelligence community to set the standard for excellence in transportation security. For more information about TSA, please visit our website at tsa.gov.


OAK Media Contact         

Keonnis R. Taylor, Airport Spokesperson

Tel. 510-563-6500

Email: [email protected]

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