Canines Working at the SLC Airport

As passenger traffic continues to increase at Salt Lake City International Airport, law enforcement officers are working to keep passengers safe and secure. The Airport and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) do this with the help of explosive detection canine teams.

SLC Airport Police explosive detection canine teams patrol all areas of the airport—both inside and out—while the TSA canines screen passengers at the security checkpoints.  These specially-trained canines are an effective tool in detecting concealed explosives, which are known to be one of the greatest threat to the aviation system.

SLC Airport Police canine teams, both the handler and the dogs, go through  12 weeks of intensive training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. One of the primary responsibilities of the handler and canine is to conduct patrols throughout the Airport for explosive materials.

From left to right: SLC Airport Police Officer Casey Strasburg with Big, SLC Airport Police Officer Chris Barker with Csoki, SLC Airport Police Officer Jake Haggerty with Bobby, SLC Airport Police Officer Robert Paxton with Bruce, TSA Officer Joanne Vasek with Bruce, TSA Officer Tom Scott with Buster.


Passengers going through the security checkpoints will see passenger screening canines (PSCs) working the queues. PSCs significantly assist TSA to more efficiently screen passengers.

The canines are tethered to the handlers at all times and work in close proximity to passengers. Handlers are trained to read the canine’s behavior to determine when a possible explosive is detected.

While the first instinct for many people is to pet the dogs, passengers are asked to refrain from doing so because it interferes with the canine’s work. The handlers, on the other hand, are approachable and happy to answer questions.