Collectible explosive detector dog cards hit airports

2 Jul 2015

To educate the public about its work, the Aviation Security Service (‘Avsec’) on Tuesday launched collectible cards detailing each of the its highly trained explosive detector dogs (EDD) working to protect our nation’s airports and skies.

Transport Minister, Hon Simon Bridges, helped launch the cards at Wellington Airport, meeting with EDD teams and handing the cards out to children.

Avsec is the branch of the Civil Aviation Authority responsible for providing security services at New Zealand’s six security-designated airports, and has a prestigious EDD training programme which was officially recognised by the United States’ Transportation Security Administration in October 2014—a world-first acknowledgement.

Avsec’s highly qualified dogs have all completed and graduated from an extensive 10-week programme with their trainers where they hone their skills, searching for and identifying explosive material in different environments. At the end of the course the teams, consisting of dog and handler, are tested and certified by the New Zealand Police. A passing grade means the teams graduate as ‘operational’.

A change in operational focus means that Avsec’s EDD unit will be increasing their presence amongst the flying public at screening points and boarding gates.  The cards, providing a biography of each dog, are aimed at children who can sometimes find the presence of the dog a little intimidating.  It is hoped that these cards will allow the children to understand what the dogs are doing and interact with the process without patting or distracting the dogs while they are working.  Avsec hopes that the travelling public will at large will find them fun, interesting, and reassuring of the world-class security standard that Avsec upholds.

“Our EDDs enjoy a great life and do an important job for Avsec, the travelling public and the airport community, which we want to showcase” says Avsec EDD National Manager Monique Masoe.

“We want travellers to know that they are in safe hands—and paws—when they travel within or from New Zealand.”

The cards will be handed out by the EDD handlers and security staff at airports where the dogs work.