During the 2014 season, fans may have noticed a few four-legged friends screening fans entering Jordan-Hare. These dogs are a part of the partnership between AMK9 and Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (ARTF), an alliance formed in 2012. Auburn University’s Canine Performance Sciences Programs teamed with AMK9 to conduct state-of-the-art research and training to develop Vapor Wake Technology, a strong and versatile, non-intrusive detection tool in the fight against terrorism. Vapor Wake training enhances explosives detection and other illicit substances, giving K9 teams the ability to search and detect explosives on a person while they are in transit. The technology received a U.S. patent in 2015.
AMK9 Managing Director Paul Hammond explains there is a current capability gap in the security industry for body worn explosives being transported via mass transit routes into large public events on a person.
“There aren’t other means to detect an explosive on a moving target,” explains Hammond. “Auburn recognized the opportunity with the security gap and conducted a nationwide search of the top K9 companies, to find the right partner.”
Auburn University’s partner, AMK9 is the worlds largest commercial K9 company, located in Anniston, Alabama and is it`s 320 acre K9 training academy, with more than 120 working dogs in training across an array of disciplines. Vapor Wake Detection dogs are considered the Ferrari of detection dogs and take almost 2 years to train. The lengthy Vapor Wake detection process ensures that dogs are able to handle the high performance demands among large crowd venues.
“A traditional detection dog has to be directed to possible explosives, a Vapor Way detection K9 works more independently and can cover a lot more ground, search more people and find explosives that are moving rather than in a static position.”
Vapor Wake technology is the first K9 capability to successfully attain the lab-tested designation by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, a leading academic institution for sports safety and security. Auburn is the only university to host a subject matter expert lab test. The testing to evaluate specific functions and features surrounding eight functional areas, including core security and detection capabilities were carried out during the Auburn-South Carolina game. Hammond and his team found the dogs were a welcomed addition to security at Jordan-Hare.
“The fans really embraced the dogs. They added a therapy value for fans at the game; the dogs helped thousands of people feel safer.”
Vapor Wake dogs and handlers will be placed at 4 different strategic locations throughout and around the stadium. The dogs will allow teams to; search Vapor Wake left behind thousands of people transiting to the event. Additionally they will provide a visual deterrent and allow fans to enjoy their gameday worry free.