Sniffer dogs from across Canada being trained at Ottawa airport
Canines and their trainers learning how to find narcotics, explosives and suspects
Visitors to Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier Airport may have noticed a higher than usual number of dogs roaming and sniffing through the terminal this month, but it isn't a case of heightened security.
For the second time since April 2015, the airport hosted a "train the trainers" course for more than 20 police canine units from across Canada.
"The past two weeks have been great. We're able to share ideas, learn new ideas, what other police services are doing. It's all about getting better," said Rod MacNeil, a constable with the Calgary police.
MacNeil and his four legged partner, Sabre, were students on the course.
Training done in the terminal
The course focussed on advanced search techniques to find narcotics and explosives, as well as techniques to track suspects.
The Ottawa Airport Authority's vice-president of security and emergency management and customer transportation, James Armstrong, said a good portion of that training was done in the actual terminal.
"A busy loud environment. It offers a great training venue for them," said Armstrong.
Armstrong points out Ottawa is one of only two airports in Canada with its own dedicated police canine unit.
"There's no other airport in Canada that are allowing the Calgary, the Edmonton and the Vancouver Police to come here and train in the airport when we have customers moving about," said Armstrong.
It's an experience MacNeil said was worth the trip.
"The Ottawa Airport and their canine unit has been very gracious. They have a fantastic program here."
The Ottawa Airport Authority said it plans to continue offering the specialized training in the years to come.