NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston International Airport (CHS) welcomed two special new officers to their security team this month.
Patrol K-9 Hector is a six-year-old German Shepherd, certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association in: off Leash obedience, article search, area search, tracking, building search, aggression control, and narcotic detection.
Explosive K-9 Scout is a two-year-old German Shorthaired pointer, “currently in training and expected to become certified in September.”
Lt. Jay Christmas serves as the commander of the K-9 unit. He has 22 years of experience, “with assignments as a K-9 handler, K-9 Unit Supervisor/ Trainer/ Kennel master, and narcotics detective.”
Airport Executive Director, Elliott Summey, explained that the K-9s’ “speed and flexibility in discovering the presence of explosives and ability to follow suspicious odors give them a real edge over currently available mechanical detection devices in many circumstances.”
K-9s can smell 44 times better than humans, thanks to the 220 million receptor cells in their noses, compared to the human nose, which has only five million receptor cells. Additionally “50% of a K-9’s nasal chamber is used for the sense of smell, and 12% of its brain is dedicated to the sense of smell.”
K-9s hold advantages in other sense as well; a German Shepherd’s average field of vision is 240 degrees, compared to that of a human, which is 180. They can also hear four times better than humans, with an average of 60 hzt compared to the average human’s 15 htz.