Chloe Mccotter | September 24, 2017
The University of Notre Dame has recently hired two new employees who are known to be best in class for their work.
Toxi and Skeet, a pair of black Labrador retrievers, are the first K-9 members on the Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) staff. Specially trained to detect explosives and work in an active, high-traffic area, 18-month-old Toxi and 3-year-old Skeet are also the first canines of this kind in Indiana. Acquiring Toxi was made possible by a gift from Jay Town, a 1995 Notre Dame graduate, and his wife, Dana, an Auburn alumna.
The dogs were acquired from a program affiliated with Auburn University and trained in vapor wake detection. According to AMK9, a company that specializes in law enforcement canine training and development, the dogs have been bred, raised and socialized to “work in high-flow pedestrian areas where they can accurately screen hundreds of people passing through an entry point in a nonintrusive way, and follow an explosive target to its source in real time, while the target is in motion.”
This training and technique differs from traditional explosive-sniffing canine detection, which operates in a static environment. Toxi and Skeet are trained to detect multiple types of explosives odors. Similarly trained dogs are also being utilized at several other universities, by professional sports teams and transportation companies, in entertainment avenues and on metropolitan police departments around the country.
Keri Kei Shibata, director and chief of NDSP, explained why Notre Dame added the four-legged colleagues.
“We have been drawing K-9 resources from the surrounding area more frequently for large, high-profile events. Expecting an increased number of highly attended events in our new facilities, this is an important enhancement to our safety and security efforts at Notre Dame,” she said. “We will continue to work with local agencies and offer our new resources to aid local units.”