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Chicago CBP Celebrates 40 Years of K-9 Service

Release Date: 
March 31, 2010

Chicago - U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Chicago will celebrate an important anniversary involving very special employees that are known to play at work. These four-legged federal workers may look cute and cuddly but are very serious about their jobs of securing this country from all types of hidden and dangerous contraband. On Thursday, April 1, Chicago CBP will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Canine Program with a special training exercise.


Canine "Martin" searches an arriving aircraft.

The Chicago Canine Program is made up of teams of CBP handlers and their partners such as Rambo, Indy, Gidget, Dixie, Shadow and Yosemite. These handlers undergo many rigorous weeks of specialized training with their assigned dogs to find dangerous, illegal and prohibited items that are being smuggled into this country. Last year in Chicago, CBP canine teams were responsible for locating hidden illegal drugs; prohibited meat and plant products; and currency that was initially unreported.

Currently there are more than 1,300 CBP canine enforcement teams located throughout the nation. They are:

  • Currency/Firearms Detector Dogs - trained to detect firearms and the odor of large amounts of undeclared U.S. currency being smuggled into or out of this country to avoid monetary reporting requirements.
  • Narcotics Detector Dogs - used in the interdiction and detection of narcotics, such as marijuana, hashish, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamine.
  • Concealed Human/Narcotics Detector Dogs - used to detect concealed persons attempting to enter the United States illegally, as well as narcotics.
  • Agriculture Detector Dogs - trained to detect fruits, vegetables, meats or other prohibited items that may carry animal, pests, or plant diseases that could harm U.S. agriculture resources.

"In Chicago, our canines include Labradors, Beagles, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois who have always been very effective in locating contraband that might otherwise go unfound," said David Murphy, CBP director of Field Operations in Chicago. "Our CBP canines can be man's best friend, but after a hard day's work, they can also be a smuggler's worst nightmare."

The career of a CBP canine usually lasts until they are unable to work due to age or an injury. Upon retirement, these dogs can go live with their handlers or are adopted by a loving family.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017