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Proceedings Paper

Effectiveness of quality-control aids in verifying K-9-team explosive detection performance
Author(s): Susan F. Hallowell; Douglas S. Fischer; Jeffrey D. Brasher; Robert L. Malone; Garold L. Gresham; Cathy Rae
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Paper Abstract

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and supporting agencies conducted a developmental test and evaluation (DTE) to determine if quality control aids (QCAs) could be developed that would provide effective surrogates to actual explosives used for training and testing K-9 explosives detection teams. Non-detonable surrogates are required to alleviate logistics and contamination issues with explosives used sa training aids. Comparative K-9 team detection performance for explosives used as training aids and QCAs configurations of each explosive type were evaluated to determine the optimal configuration for the QCA configuration of each explosive type were evaluated to determine the optimal configuration for the QCAs. The configurations were a paper patch impregnated with a solution of the explosive, a cloth pouch filed with small amounts of solid explosive, and the non-hazardous explosive for security training and testing material. The DTE was conducted at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where the K-9 teams undergo initial training. Six FAA certified operational teams participated. All explosives and QCAs were presented to the K-9 teams using a 10 scent box protocol. The results show that K-9 team as are more sensitive to explosives than the candidate QCAs. More importantly, it was discovered that the explosives at Lackland AFB are cross-contaminated, meaning that explosives possessed volatile artifacts from other explosives. There are two potential hypotheses explaining why the dogs did not detect the QCAs. First, the cross-contamination of Lackland training explosives may mean that K-9 teams are only trained to detect the explosives with the most volatile chemical signatures. Alternatively, the QCA configurations may have been below the trained detection threshold of the K-9s. It is recommended that K-9 teams train on uncontaminated odors from properly designed QCAs to ensure that dogs respond to the appropriate explosive components, and not some other constituent or contaminant.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 February 1997
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2937, Chemistry- and Biology-Based Technologies for Contraband Detection, (17 February 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.266782
Show Author Affiliations
Susan F. Hallowell, William J. Hughes Tecehnical Ctr./Federal Aviation Administration (United States)
Douglas S. Fischer, Galaxy Scientific Corp. (United States)
Jeffrey D. Brasher, Galaxy Scientific Corp. (United States)
Robert L. Malone, Galaxy Scientific Corp. (United States)
Garold L. Gresham, Idaho National Engineering Lab. (United States)
Cathy Rae, Idaho National Engineering Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2937:
Chemistry- and Biology-Based Technologies for Contraband Detection
Pierre Pilon; Steve Burmeister, Editor(s)

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