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What do TSA Canine Handlers Do?

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K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Posted over 3 years ago

 

Below is the official job description as described on USAJOBS vacancy announcments:


As a Transportation Security Inspector (TSI) with TSA, you will be responsible for ensuring security compliance of persons and transportation systems/entities regulated under the Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1500 series. You will perform selected assignments and progressively responsible inspection work such as:


  • Conducting regulatory inspections/investigations and supports criminal investigations related to alleged or suspected security violations.

     

  • Identifying, collecting and preserving evidence used to support enforcement actions. Assisting in determining when enforcement action should be initiated, preparing enforcement investigation reports and recommending to TSA counsel the type of action and level of penalty commensurate with the nature and severity of the violation.

     

  • Providing testimony and participating in enforcement proceedings. Entering data pertinent to investigations, inspections and incidents into the national database, Performance and Results Information System (PARIS).

     

  • Responding to threats, violations or potential violations and/or security incidents as defined by the National Incident Management Systems or as directed by the Federal Security Director (FSD) or appropriate authority.

     

  • Providing overt and covert presence, including high visibility activities, to detect and reduce identified security threats/vulnerabilities.

     

  • Reviewing and analyzing assessment reports and testing results with specific attention to identifying unusual trends and actions that appear to have the potential for developing a security/safety problem.

     

  • Assisting in formulating recommended or alternative courses of action to pursue by regulated parties in order to satisfy security requirements.

     

  • Participates in activities designed to identify security threats through appropriately deployed technology or techniques as directed by Headquarters (HQs), FSD or Assistant Federal Security Director (AFSD).


    If selected for a Transportation Security Inspector - Explosives Detection Canine Handler (EDCH) position, in addition to the duties assigned to all TSIs outlined above, you will also be responsible for the daily care of the canine, including necessary health maintenance care, feeding/watering, and grooming of the assigned canine and maintaining safe and sanitary conditions in the kennels and home environment. The handler is responsible for conducting proficiency training as mandated by TSA in order to pass and maintain annual certification standards. The handler/canine are responsible for screening cargo and searching wide and narrow body aircraft, terminals, luggage, facilities, vehicles and other venues for the presence of explosives, as directed. Maintain necessary training and utilization records as identified by TSA and operates a government vehicle equipped with a kennel to transport the canine to various work sites and home. Conducts random patrols and routine sweeps at various areas within the transportation environment to provide a visual deterrent for criminal or terrorist activity. Respond to threats that affect transportation operations or public safety as necessary.


    Note:  The duties of this position are performed under close guidance and supervision using basic technical inspection knowledge acquired in formal core training and OJT. Assignments typically include inspection work in which established policies and procedures cover virtually all of the work, with little or no room for discretion.

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Rated +1 | Posted over 3 years ago

 

I'm going to take a wild guess here. You must be bored.

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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uncledennis1 says ...



I'm going to take a wild guess here. You must be bored.



No not bored, just trying to help where I can.  I receive a high volume of emails regarding this job that I just wanted to have a way to help as many as I can all at once.  I see that this group has caught your attention Chief.  If there are any questions you may have sir, I look forward to answering them for you.  Thank you for taking the time to check out this forum.


Ed

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Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

 First, thanks for taking the time to create this forum. I have a couple of questions: I don't know if you can speak to this, but what is the job security like for these positions? Any chance of handlers being laid off in the future, or handlers getting bumped to a non-k9 positions? Also, what are the shifts like; any chances for OT and such? Finally, if you have your own personal dogs at the time, does that disqualify you from being considered for the position? I know a lot of LE depts. that don't allow officers to have any personal k9's if they are housing a working dog. Sorry for the lengthy post and thanks in advance.

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Is someone automatically ineligible if they already have dogs?

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Paynt22 says ...



 First, thanks for taking the time to create this forum. I have a couple of questions: I don't know if you can speak to this, but what is the job security like for these positions? Any chance of handlers being laid off in the future, or handlers getting bumped to a non-k9 positions? Also, what are the shifts like; any chances for OT and such? Finally, if you have your own personal dogs at the time, does that disqualify you from being considered for the position? I know a lot of LE depts. that don't allow officers to have any personal k9's if they are housing a working dog. Sorry for the lengthy post and thanks in advance.



Paynt22, thanks for the message.  Job security for this position is as strong as could be.  These positions were demand of congress onto TSA initially for the screening of cargo bound for transport on passenger aircraft.  Coming soon are a new wave of teams with a focus on the public areas of transportation venues.  All TSA EDCT's are a supplement to the existing K9 cadre of local LE departments with who receive K9's from TSA as well as self-procured. 


TSA Handlers are required to pass annual evaluations in order maintain their positions.  Now the annual recert's are not "fail one and you’re out" kind of deal.  You are afforded an opportunity of redemption before completely getting the axe.  However, even in the event of a total failure to certify, TSA has the option to offer you a different position so long as one is available. 


Shifts vary around the clock.  They are dependent on a number of variables, of which I am unable to discuss in this forum; however I can say they are ideal and reasonable.


OT is given for home care of the canine (1 hour per day).  Also, we are entitled to holiday premium for working holidays, night premium for working between 1800-0600hrs, and Sunday premium. 


Having any other pets does not disqualify you.  You must however provide evidence that pets such as dogs and cats have all shots up to date so as to ensure no communicable disease exposure to the TSA K9.

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wheremydog says ...



Is someone automatically ineligible if they already have dogs?



Thanks for the question. Having any other pets does not disqualify you.  You must however provide evidence that pets such as dogs and cats have all shots up to date so as to ensure no communicable disease exposure to the TSA K9.

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 I just applied to the EDCH for just about every airport imaginable.  I was just wondering what my chances are to get a job.  I have a Master's Degree in National Security and Public Safety.  I also currently work for the TSA as a checkpoint screener at JFK. Just wondering if anyone would know where I would stand.

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redstrm00 says ...



 I just applied to the EDCH for just about every airport imaginable.  I was just wondering what my chances are to get a job.  I have a Master's Degree in National Security and Public Safety.  I also currently work for the TSA as a checkpoint screener at JFK. Just wondering if anyone would know where I would stand.



Just based on your comments I would venture to guess that your chances are good.  However, I cannot and will not speak for those persons who will ultimatley make the final decision. 

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What has your experience been like in regards to relocation for new canine employees? If I absolutely cannot relocate, what do they do with you?

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wheremydog says ...



What has your experience been like in regards to relocation for new canine employees? If I absolutely cannot relocate, what do they do with you?



 


I'm not sure I completely understand the question however; I will try my best in covering all related bases. For an applicant who applies for a position in, let’s say NY, but currently resides in FL, and for whatever reason is unable to move to NY on time then the only logical thing for the agency to do is to part ways. Once an applicant is offered a position it will be for a specific location. However, if during the period of employment, should an opening at a different field office come up, at that time a Handler may request to be transferred to that other office. Note, even under approved transfers, no moving expenses will be paid out as the move would have been voluntary. These types of transfers due not happen often. 
 
If your concern is involuntary relocation, fret not. That is highly unlikely and has not happened once in the existence of this program. 

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I'll be applying on usajobs and there are multiple locations. I live in Nashville, tn and that is one of the locations listed, so I guess we'll see. Also, how would you rate this job as far as having a family? Do you know alot of handlers that have families, and if so, do they gripe about how difficult it is or do they feel this job allows you to meet the duties required of a parent?  Lastly, it seems very evident you love your job; how would you say the TSA handlers rate their jobs regarding overall satisfaction?

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wheremydog says ...



I'll be applying on usajobs and there are multiple locations. I live in Nashville, tn and that is one of the locations listed, so I guess we'll see. Also, how would you rate this job as far as having a family? Do you know alot of handlers that have families, and if so, do they gripe about how difficult it is or do they feel this job allows you to meet the duties required of a parent?  Lastly, it seems very evident you love your job; how would you say the TSA handlers rate their jobs regarding overall satisfaction?



Most of our Handlers have families at home.  At times we do have short notice deployments from days to weeks at a time.  Most are voluntary and worthwhile.  I myself have a family of five and have absolutley no problem with the overall position I am in.  In fact my local leadership is quite accomodating when I have family matters needing my attention.


If you can find a Handler not happy with this job, then they are here for all the wrong reasons.

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Can anyone elaborate on the type of schedule for this position? Is it a rotating schedule and hours or are they set? Also how much work is done with the canine and how much is done doing TSA inspection work (and if so what type cargo, aviation etc)? Any help would be appreciated.

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cop91100 says ...



Can anyone elaborate on the type of schedule for this position? Is it a rotating schedule and hours or are they set? Also how much work is done with the canine and how much is done doing TSA inspection work (and if so what type cargo, aviation etc)? Any help would be appreciated.



cop91100, thanks for your question.  For the most part the schedules are fixed.  However, they are dependent on several factors that unfortunately I am unable to discuss in this forum.  They vary from field office for operational need and number of teams assigned.  I can assure you however, that they are very reasonable throughout and most, if not all offices, will work with on what's best for both you and the office.  Also note, most every team works 4 ten hour shifts giving three days off per week. 


Most teams in the field right now consist of cargo inspectors with a set minimum number of inspections requirening to be completed per quarter, of which the number I cannot mention.  Few teams are multi modal with similar requirements.  Coming soon are aviation centric teams with with I am certian will too have the same inspection requirements.  Overall, I would venture to say that 10% of your time will be spent on regulatory related activites as the other 90% is focused on K9 related activities, i.e. training, screening, public visibility, etc.  Hope this helps.

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Ed,


Check your inbox.I

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Okay folks, got an email with many questions.  So without further ado, here we go:


1.  "I see you do your training at Lackland.  It this were you get your canine?" -Yes. Training at Lackland is held in the same area as that of DOD, however not with DOD.  TSA procures and breeds its own canines.  The course is ten weeks and usually you would be issued your canine after week one.


2. "Who do you do your yearly evaluations through?" -All training missions and evaluations are completed at your home station by the same personnel who conduct the training courses at Lackland.  The instructors rotate between teaching classes and conducting evals out in the field.


3. "Do you receive a take home vehicle and what is your kennel pay or compensation?" -Yes we are issued take home vehicles as well has very large outdoor home kennels (for those living on a property large enough to receive one.  We are compensation with one hour of overtime per day for home care of the canine.  However, each field office management has the option to allow you to leave work one hour early in lieu of receiveing the OT.  Again that is up to the local management office.


4. "I see that you work four 10's. Do you rotate day and night?"  -Yes and no.  Schedules are based on operation need per location.  They are usually fixed shifts however vary by field office.  I cannot speak to what the exact hours of operation are as that is something you will have to see once hired on.  As mentioned in previous posts, they are very reasonable.


5. "Training. Are you free to train or when you're not working your dog are you doing regular TSA inspection stuff?" -Training requirements are dictated by TSA HQ.  Non-certified teams have a required amount of training time they must complete which is greater than that of certified teams as they must conduct both training and utilization with thier canines.  Training is conducted every duty day.


6. Oh... wait, there is no number 6.  Was just on a roll there.


Hope I was able to answer each of the questions with enough detail for the person who asked the questions.  If I spelled some stuff wrong, its because I am typing faster than I am supposed to.  Good luck

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Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Ed, awesome answers. Do you have a specified training day and are they liberal on letting you train during your workday? How do you meet the MINIMUM recommended training requirements set forth by the courts of 16hrs per month..again thats the min.. as most units/handlers aim for 30-40hrs a month.

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Kilo20 says ...



Ed, awesome answers. Do you have a specified training day and are they liberal on letting you train during your workday? How do you meet the MINIMUM recommended training requirements set forth by the courts of 16hrs per month..again thats the min.. as most units/handlers aim for 30-40hrs a month.



Training is competed at any time during your shift.  We are given what we call a required "sniff time" for training that we must meet and document within a national website that is moniterd and tracked by TSA NEDCTP HQ and the NEDCTP Training and Evaluation Brach at Lackland.  Sniff time is a pretty big deal in TSA and it is ultimatley the responsibility of each handler to ensure that those times are met. And no, there is no specified training day as we train every duty day. 

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Ed,

Check your inbox.

DL


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Kilo20 says ...



Ed, awesome answers. Do you have a specified training day and are they liberal on letting you train during your workday? How do you meet the MINIMUM recommended training requirements set forth by the courts of 16hrs per month..again thats the min.. as most units/handlers aim for 30-40hrs a month.


 


 


 


Just for accuracy, no court in the US has set a "MINIMUM recommended training requirements set forth by the courts of 16hrs per month". Indeed, 16 hours is considered the "industry standard". That standard had been recommended by the IACP, USPCA, NAPWDA and other organizations.


 


 



Beyond fatigue lies compensatory hypertrophy

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Rated -1 | Posted over 3 years ago

 

My honest opinion of the T.S.A. is that their all bunched up like kids looking for the average citizen to screw up with a 5 oz. bottle of tit milk, and not profiling like their suppose to do, I´m not knocking your job Ed just your kiddie ass department ever since the take over and grandfathering security guards to the federal Government and not as verified law enforcement officers or agents but employees!

 


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Ralph8119 says ...



My honest opinion of the T.S.A. is that their all bunched up like kids looking for the average citizen to screw up with a 5 oz. bottle of tit milk, and not profiling like their suppose to do, I´m not knocking your job Ed just your kiddie ass department ever since the take over and grandfathering security guards to the federal Government and not as verified law enforcement officers or agents but employees!

 

 


Ralph,
I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their opinion and to never judge someone based solely on their opinion. However, this forum was not created to boast on TSA's accomplishments or to market it as the greatest organization in the US. Therefore, I do not understand why you think it necessary to enter this forum and attempt to turn it into a TSA Bash Session. I am sure that there enough forums out there where TSA's reputation is beaten on a regular basis that would appreciate these comments far more that in this particular forum. I appreciate that you are not knocking my job Ralph, however despite all of TSA's faults, it still affords me the opportunity to do what i love to do and that is work a dog for the safety and security of others. Also, with the help of this website, it allows me to share valued information to members of the LE community, like you, of opportunities made available. So I thank you in advance for keeping this forum peaceful and focused on its original intent of information sharing regarding employment opportunities in K9. 

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Thanks Ed for the great information.


Here is some info that I have obtained regarding Edch positions.  At the beginning of Feb 2011 there were 6 dogs at Lackland AFB, by the 11th they were down to 4 dogs.  TSA are going with "floppy eared" dogs and staying away from the dogs commonly used for Edch (like Duch Shepherd, Belgian Malinois) because they feel the labs, etc (floppy eared) are less aggressive.  That is why there are currently only 4 dogs in the system at this time.  Two were weeded out for agression.  Do they (TSA) not know that Labs account for the most reported bites in the US. Why are they not just taking the "best" dogs, period??   My brothers first K9 partner was a Duch Shepherd and was very aggressive.  He would not be in the system today for his behavior but was one of the best when it came to doing his job.  He never was agressive at work and around the public but he was agressive off the job.  The dog could Not be handled by anyone but my brother and that is the one reason you would not find him at Lackland or anywhere else today.  I asked my brother once, does the dog show any bad behavior at work?  My brother said, "he lives to work and when at work he is 100% focused".    


Me, as the flying public wants the best that is availible but the average Joe traveler sure gets his pants in a twist over "feeling" violated.  I'd rather have my butt sniffed by a dog than kissing my ass goodbye because the TSA skimped on quality.  That is why I feel they should not be limiting themselves when it comes to selecting dogs.  If there is a Mal or a Duchy or whatever type of dog and it is top quality for the job! Train them.


My feeling is that this will be a very long process.  And yes I applied mainly for Edch cause that is something I have been interested in and have some knowledge about.  Also applied for Surface and Aviation. 


Also I do not know if this has been mentioned.  The dogs are trained before you arrive at Lackland AFB and I do know that Airport Police when they go to get their partner (at Lackland) you do not pick your dog.  They pick the dog for you.  I do not know if this is true regarding TSA but from what I have been told it is done the same way.  You are required to go to Lackland for training throughout your career as an Edch and there are times they come to you to evaluate you and your partner at your work location.    

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MicheleKeast says ...



Thanks Ed for the great information.


Here is some info that I have obtained regarding Edch positions.  At the beginning of Feb 2011 there were 6 dogs at Lackland AFB, by the 11th they were down to 4 dogs.  TSA are going with "floppy eared" dogs and staying away from the dogs commonly used for Edch (like Duch Shepherd, Belgian Malinois) because they feel the labs, etc (floppy eared) are less aggressive.  That is why there are currently only 4 dogs in the system at this time.  Two were weeded out for agression.  Do they (TSA) not know that Labs account for the most reported bites in the US. Why are they not just taking the "best" dogs, period??   My brothers first K9 partner was a Duch Shepherd and was very aggressive.  He would not be in the system today for his behavior but was one of the best when it came to doing his job.  He never was agressive at work and around the public but he was agressive off the job.  The dog could Not be handled by anyone but my brother and that is the one reason you would not find him at Lackland or anywhere else today.  I asked my brother once, does the dog show any bad behavior at work?  My brother said, "he lives to work and when at work he is 100% focused".    


Me, as the flying public wants the best that is availible but the average Joe traveler sure gets his pants in a twist over "feeling" violated.  I'd rather have my butt sniffed by a dog than kissing my ass goodbye because the TSA skimped on quality.  That is why I feel they should not be limiting themselves when it comes to selecting dogs.  If there is a Mal or a Duchy or whatever type of dog and it is top quality for the job! Train them.


My feeling is that this will be a very long process.  And yes I applied mainly for Edch cause that is something I have been interested in and have some knowledge about.  Also applied for Surface and Aviation. 


Also I do not know if this has been mentioned.  The dogs are trained before you arrive at Lackland AFB and I do know that Airport Police when they go to get their partner (at Lackland) you do not pick your dog.  They pick the dog for you.  I do not know if this is true regarding TSA but from what I have been told it is done the same way.  You are required to go to Lackland for training throughout your career as an Edch and there are times they come to you to evaluate you and your partner at your work location.    



 


MicheleKeast


Thank you for taking the time to visit this forum.  Your time in here represents an interest in what I and my fellow TSA EDCH's do and the information I share with the Policelink community.  With that being said, I would ask before posting what appears to be second or even third hand information onto my forum, which appears at face value to be, an attempt to deface the credibility of TSA and the NEDCTP, you seek clarification directly from someone with firsthand knowledge of the Agency and its status.  Your post demonstrates a lack of understanding and misrepresentation of TSA resources and abilities.  I know nothing of your experience or current duty position as you have not formally introduced yourself properly anywhere in the Policelink community, therefore I will refrain from making any assumptions as to your intentions with your post. 


If there is anything you would like to discuss outside this public forum please feel free to send me a private message and I will gladly clarify any issues or concerns you may have regarding TSA NEDCTP. 


For all other readers of this forum,  I encourage you to consider the source of your Intel when it relates to TSA NEDCTP and always seek validation from someone in the know before blasting an organization from which you seek employment.


Be Safe!

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Thanks for taking the time to help out people interested in becoming canine handlers for TSA..  I have recently applied for the position of handler at one of the local airports.  What breed of dogs does TSA use Explosive Detection?  I have seen several different things posted on TSA web site and other sites. I would like to here from a current handler as to which breeds are used.  I have been a canine handler for approximately 10 years now and have seen quite a few different breeds used by my dept.  and others.  I've seen Jack Russels, Labs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepards, Boxers, Malanois, and Pitt Bulls.  So Im just curious.  Thanks in advance.

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Rate This | Posted over 2 years ago

 

Does a person have to have prior law enforcement dog handling experience to be considered for dog handler position with TSA?  I have a real interest in this career.  I have raised and trained sporting dogs for many years.  I have a degree in accounting and am interested in changing careers.  I will be starting the police academy in a couple of weeks.  How is the best way to get training and experience in dog handling.  Will TSA hire and train dog handlers with no prior experience?  I would appreciate any information that you could provide me that would help me to pursue a career as a canine handler.  Thanks.

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Test Post.

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This forum died 5 months ago and you brought it back. Why? I am curious. I will not comment on TSA.

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uncledennis1 says ...



This forum died 5 months ago and you brought it back. Why? I am curious. I will not comment on TSA.



Good day sir.  Although the forum has been quiet, I have been contacted with many questions because of it.  The hiring of new handlers has picked up as of late and any time someone does a Google search for info they end up here.  So as I have done in the past, I try to help where I can. 

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