Four German shepherds were "sworn in" today as the newest members of the Defense Protective Service (DPS), the Pentagon's police force. They are part of the first K-9 corps ever to assist in maintaining security at the headquarters for the Department of Defense.
The official name of the new unit is DPS Detection Explosive Canine Team, which consists of the four dogs, four police officers and a sergeant as supervisor. The dogs and their handlers graduated on Sept. 18, 1998, from the military police dog training school run by the Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. The K-9 course involves three weeks of basic patrol followed by eight weeks of explosive detection training.
John Jester, DPS chief, said that the establishing of a K-9 unit is an expansion of the DPS mission in providing a higher level of protection to the DoD community that includes more than 24,000 Pentagon workers. "It is not the result of any specific threat," Jester said. "This step is one of many proactive and prudent measures we are taking to minimize the occurrence of a possible tragedy."