I talked with a couple of bomb-sniffing dog handlers who work for K2 Solutions based in North Carolina. The company has contracts with nearly all National Football League teams to work security at games. Their dogs, of different breeds, are trained to detect nitrogen compounds, as some, such as ammonium nitrate, are used to manufacture bombs. (Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh used ammonium nitrate to produce a bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April, 1995, killing 168 people, including many children, and injuring 680 people.)
I was very impressed. I talked with one of her dog-handling colleagues and mentioned that conversation to him. He told me of one instance where a dog detected a nitrate compound on a prospective passenger at an airport security checkpoint. Homeland Security personnel escorted the gentleman to a room for questioning. It turned out the man had a heart condition and the dog had detected a nitrogen compound in the man’s prescription medicine vial he had in a shirt pocket. The vial had only three capsules. (Insert Oh my God!! exclamation here.)
The gentleman dog handler I talked with had been an Army staff sergeant who suffered serious wounds while serving in Afghanistan. The injuries occurred when an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated, blowing him into the side of a building, causing fractures of both hips, several other broken bones and a punctured eardrum.