Public Safety Establishes K-9 Program to Bolster Safety of Faculty, Staff, Students and Visitors

The University of Cincinnati’s Public Safety Department has established a K-9 Unit to conduct explosive-detection sweeps. Two canine dogs – Dozer, a yellow Lab, and Boomer, a black Lab – joined the department in the fall of 2015.

“A K-9 will allow the university to better prepare for large on-campus events such as lectures, dignitary visits and sporting events," said Robert Ambach, senior vice president for administration and finance. “Because schools and universities can be vulnerable, the K-9 Unit provides Public Safety an additional tool to protect the UC community.”

Dozer, handled by officer Lance Long, and Boomer, handled by officer Rob Doherty, can detect 26 different explosive chemicals.

“The detection skill of trained explosive dogs is quite remarkable,” said James L. Whalen, UC’s director of public safety. “For example, a human can smell chicken noodle soup, but a trained explosive dog can detect each ingredient in the soup, which is what makes them such a valuable resource.”

The K-9 dogs and their handlers received more than 200 hours of training and spent an additional five weeks training with other municipal and county K-9 units in the Cincinnati area. Each dog, along with their handler, trains daily to maintain critical skills.

“Our K-9 officers work each day to acclimate Dozer and Boomer to the university community. If you see Dozer and Boomer walking around campus, please stop and introduce yourself. We hope our faculty, staff and students will engage with them,” added Whalen.

The K-9 Unit is also available to assist other local law enforcement partners and provide explosive-detection services.

Funding for UC’s canine program was provided, in part, by the Matt Haverkamp Foundation. The foundation, established in 2005 following the death of K-9 officer Matt Haverkamp, has funded 28 K-9s since its inception.

Members of the UC Community are invited to meet Dozer and Boomer during a K-9 graduation ceremony on Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m. in the Sheakley Athletics Practice Bubble located off of Corry Boulevard. A demonstration to show how the K-9s are able to detect explosives also will be given.

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