SEATTLE — A big part of keeping the public safe, especially in large gatherings, is deploying K-9 units to sweep high trafficked areas.
Cheryl Bishop is a special agent and K-9 handler with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and explains, “It’s a preventative measure for safety.
“We want everyone to enjoy the day, but we want them to be safe.”
Bishop and her K-9 ‘Allegra’ are looking for explosives all around downtown Seattle.
“They can detect explosives, explosive devices, firearms, shell casings, ammunition. They’re very talented in what they do,” Bishop adds.
She and her four-legged partner are working with Seattle Police Department and King County K-9 units to secure places where crowds are expected to gather. That includes being inside the crowds as well.
Seattle police officer Craig Williamson was out with his K-9 partner ‘Dennis’ looking for possible danger everywhere.
“He has the capability of alerting on a bag that is being carried or is in a stationary position,” Williamson explains.
Dennis and Allegra also have the ability to help bomb squads investigate explosives that have been detonated, making them unique assets in the field, and in helping the public feel more secure.
“For the people who are thinking about bringing things to an event like this, we want them to know that we are going to be there and that he’s certainly capable of alerting on something, but they’re going to have to get past us,” Williamson said.
But perhaps the biggest strength of these dogs are their ability to smell trouble before it happens.
Bishop adds, “ATF, our motto is we stand on the front lines of violent crime and that’s very true. We’re out here today to hopefully prevent any violence that might deal with explosives.”