UTA K9 units sniff out bombs, keep public safe

SALT LAKE CITY – The bombings in Texas have agencies across the country and in Utah on alert.

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is ramping up security with their canine team.

UTA introduced the media to Bobby and Daisy – their two K9 officers.

“Bobby was originally in the marines,” said Sgt. Chad Ziegenhorn with UTA police. “They're only trained to handle explosives. Their sense of smell is vastly superior to ours. A dog's nose is able to separate different odors.”

The dogs are trained to investigate suspicious or unattended bags and packages on UTA’s transit lines from Weber County to Utah County.

“We do proactive sweeps on the trains, the platforms, and the buses. We're looking for any unattended bags,” said Ziegenhorn. “They might stop and do a head whip or a head check on something. We're looking for that subtle change in behavior.”

The canines can check for threats much more quickly than human officers.

“To him, it's playtime. He doesn't know what a bomb is. He's looking for his toy.”

UTA hopes the team's visual presence will serve as a deterrent.

“This day and age you never know when someone might be planning an attack,” said Ziegenhorn.

If you see one of the canines onboard, don’t hesitate to say hello.

“We can interact with the public. People ask can we pet your dog? As long as it's not a distraction,” said Ziegenhorn.

The public can also help UTA police. If you see something suspicious on a bus or train, give them a call.