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SEPTA fetches bomb-sniffers

(The following article by Jim Nolan was posted on the Philadelphia Daily News website on April 6.)

PHILADELPHIA -- SEPTA is expanding its use of man's best friend to sniff out man's worst enemy.

Less than a month after terror attacks in a Madrid, Spain, rail station killed 191 people, officials at the transit agency said yesterday they will add two dogs to its police K-9 unit and train both animals to detect bombs.

Currently, only two of the eight dogs in the unit are trained to detect bombs. Two others are in the process of being trained at the Philadelphia Police Academy, according to SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney.

The new dogs will enter the academy in June. By the end of the summer, six of SEPTA's 10 police dogs will be trained to sniff for bombs.

Amtrak has already stepped up the use of bomb-sniffing dogs at its major station locations, including 30th Street Station.

Maloney said the $3,000 cost to train the SEPTA dogs will come from a $5 million federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

The transit agency said it plans to use most of the grant to improve its police and emergency communications system underground, where the Broad Street Subway and portions of the Market-Frankford line operate.

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

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