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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Barack Obama's visit: Dog 'officers' arrive in Delhi to secure turf for US president..........


NEW DELHI: Last October, commandoes Jordan and Hurricane had single-handedly intercepted and pinned down an intruder in the White House. No, these weren't six-foot-tall marines but dog "officers" of the elite K-9 squad of the US Secret Service, one of whom was also on the mission to neutralize Osama bin Laden.

Some of these officers, one-foot-tall Belgian Malinois dogs, are here in the capital ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit and will be staying in style — in suites of a five-star hotel with their handlers. The squad is an integral part of Obama's security apparatus and will be in the core security layer, tasked with sanitizing everything in the 100-metre vicinity of the president.

At least 20 of these Malinoises, a sharp and energetic shepherd dog somewhat resembling a German Shepherd, would finally be pressed into service.

While an advance party of the K-9 squad's dog "officers" have arrived in Delhi and have started work, the core team will be arriving on January 25 with the president.

Jordan and Hurricane, who have been termed as the president's best friends, are also expected to be the part of the team. Other team members may include officers named Rock and Fredrick, say sources in the security wing of Delhi Police.

They will be taking control of Rajpath and the area around Maurya Sheraton, where the president will be staying. Officers say the dogs have been trained to sniff out even the most minute traces of explosives.

Not just that, squad members are trained to overpower a target within seconds. They can run at speeds of 40-50kmph and have a deadly bite.




K-9 is part of the uniformed division of the US Secret Service with the mission to provide skilled and specialized explosives detection support. Earlier, the unit had only sniffer dogs but of late dogs are being trained to handle attackers. In recent years, Belgian Malinois are being preferred for the job ahead of German Shepherds and Dutch breeds because they have proven to be extremely sharp.

The unit has around 75 dogs, each costing around $9,000. They receive five months of training at a facility spread over 400 acres at Maryland.

These "officers" get handsome perks — staying only in luxury suites across the world — but are duty-bound to the core. They live with their handlers and retire when they are about 10 years old, says an US secret service report.

The dog join the junior constabulary but get promotions and appreciations along the way. They also get a day off when they do something special, such as stopping an intruder or finding an IED. After a busy day at work, they go home with their handlers like a family member.

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