Sarasota Sheriff's Office K-9 becomes certified in explosives detection

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SARASOTA, FL-Sheriff Tom Knight announced Wednesday that Dep. Brian Biegel and K9 Ryker have been certified in explosives detection by the National Police Canine Association (NPCA).

The K9 team attended 80 hours of training, which included searching dozens of vehicles, thousands of parcels and conducted more than a dozen building and area searches. They also performed hundreds of discrimination searches which ensures Ryker only alerts to bomb making materials among the hundreds of items that could potentially distract him.

"K9s are a force multiplier and currently the best method available to detect explosives," said Sheriff Knight. "As Sarasota County grows and becomes an international destination for large crowds, we have to be prepared to identify concealed threats."

The certification test included a variety of searches and Ryker did not miss a single item. Ryker can locate 31 different odors associated with bomb making materials. Next, the team will pursue certification to search for firearms and spent shell casings.

Dep. Biegel and K9 Ryker are the only certified bomb detection team in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Hardee, DeSoto and Highlands counties, and the first at this agency since 2004.