For 9/11, Palm Beach K-9s Celebrated for Ten Years of Service | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


For 9/11, Palm Beach K-9s Celebrated for Ten Years of Service

On the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks yesterday, we honored the firefighters and police officers who continue to keep us safe. But what about the dogs that ensure explosives, firearms, and narcotics don't make it onboard our flights?

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office recently celebrated the retirement of two specially trained PBSO canines who had been stationed at the Palm Beach International Airport for ten years. There was a party and cake. "Both dogs are very social being around thousands of people every day," one of their handlers reports. "They successfully completed all evaluations and tests... during their years of service."

Omar is described as a wise German Shepherd and Folti as a fun-loving Dalmatian. They were paired with handlers (pictured above) and would follow them to work every day and come home with them each night. The dogs made sure all unattended items were safe and stopped dangerous weapons and contraband. Both dogs are part of the TSA’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program, which dates back in one form or another to 1972.

The TSA's program includes 977 specially trained canines stationed at more than 100 of the country's airports, mass transit stations, and cargo hubs. Nearly 230 canines are given to TSA each year by the Department of Defense. Some are purchased overseas.

Dogs that are chosen to work in aviation are trained to combat terrorism by sniffing out explosives, firearms, narcotics, smuggled people, and currency. Every year, the canine teams are recertified. 

"Folti was very loving and fun to be around," her handler reports. "She had a personality like no other. [She] loved people and was able to know when to work and when to say hi."

These days, Folti mostly sleeps on her bean bag chair in front of the TV and goes for walks to the park on the weekend. For fun, she loves jumping into the pool to retrieve her toys. 

Omar can also be found resting poolside. He has free run of the house but prefers to chase squirrels that run by on the overhead power lines. 
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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson