Trained dogs help protect state’s railways

Published 11:37 pm Friday, August 22, 2008

By having a K9 force here in Chilton County, people often get to hear of all the wonderful things that the dogs can do. Most of the K9 police force is used to find narcotics; however, there is one bomb dog and at least two handler protection dogs.

During a recent railroad blitz in Thorsby, Senior Special Agent/K9 Handler Bryan Schaffer for BNSF Railway Police and his K9 partner Aika visited from Birmingham. Together, this team travels with the railroad and helps promote safety in all of the towns their trains travel through.

Aika is a Sable Shepherd that has been trained in both patrol work and bomb work. She and her partner locate things such as bombs, guns and even stowaways on trains.

“We are one of the crucial parts of the safety on our railways,” Schaffer said.

Through using his dog’s keen sense of smell, Shaffer is able to find things that could otherwise be a potential danger to a community. Dogs that are trained to find bombs can also find things as small as bullet casings and gun powder residue.

“With the dogs we are able to make sure that the trains coming and going into the City of Birmingham are safe,” Shaffer said. “With all of the added pressure from events such as 9/11, it is important to us to keep the people safe, and we do our best to try and prevent anything from coming into our city or even from leaving our city and endangering another city.”

Having dogs on police forces has helped keep our streets, railways and airways safer. Although they are not 100 percent foul proof, the K9 units have proven to be an asset to all of the communities that have them. By loving their work, these dogs get out on the streets and take care of business whether they are searching cars for drugs, checking trains out for bombs, or protecting their handlers from vicious attacks.