The Secret Service operates a special unit for threats and protection that very little is known about and whose accomplishments are seldom told. Its members are force multipliers and specially trained; they travel with the President and can interrupt meetings without permission if they detect a threat. They work as part of the day-to-day security team and rack up frequent flier miles.. They have special training and skills that sets them apart that makes them invaluable. The special unit consists of specially trained secret service dogs.
Imported and Belgian-bred, the Belgian Malinois has demonstrated the
best temperment, response to training, adaptability to conditions (crowds, locations, terrain) that makes it superior to other breeds, including American breeds in identifying and stopping security threats.
Each dog the service buys costs around $8,500. From the beginning of its training, one dog is paired with a single handler. Dogs serve for 10 years (11 years is tops!). When a dog retires, it remains with his handler in civilian life. Belgian Malinois are intelligent, devoted, loyal, and psychic; they create a powerful bond with their handlers.
Every new dog completes 20 weeks of training with its handler. Once accepted for duty, dogs receive an addition 8 hours of training and review every week until they are retired.
The training keeps their instincts sharp. All secret service dogs are expert at finding explosives, mines. They are also trained to rescue wounded officers.
Secret service dogs must meet physical standards; a Belgian Malinois must run 25 miles per hour and weigh a minimum 75 pounds. They receive their own special equipment, including kevlar vests.
From the new book written by Maria GoodavSecret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States , here are eight facts about secret service dogs.
1. If a Secret Service explosives detection dog alerts near the White House, it can prevent the president from leaving or re-entering the White House--and interrupt presidential meetings.
2. Nearly every visitor to the White House is screened by a dog, but few visitors realize it.
3. Every vehicle entering the White House complex is searched by a dog. A Secret Service explosives detection dog on gate duty averages 7,020 searched vehicles a year.
4. These dogs also are used to protect presidential candidates. They are nonpartisan.
5. Secret Service dogs have found explosive devices, but you will not hear about these “finds.”
6. Emergency Response Team (ERT) dogs, the tactical dogs of the Secret Service, are so well trained that they can be leaping in mid-air, but can be called off by their handlers with just a single command.
8. Secret Service dogs are frequent fliers, some make more than 200 flights, many international, during their careers.