Phoenix police expand K9 detection program

Meet Baron and Gata.

They're two members of the three new K-9 detection teams working for the Phoenix Police Department thanks to a TSA security program.

"Right now, across the world the highest threat we have is mass transit and large events," Sgt. Bryan Hanania said.

Sgt. Hanania says in the environment we live today it's important to be proactive and ready for anything.

So after weeks of training, the dogs and their police handlers are now prepared to patrol and you'll see them in action every day.

"We kinda try to keep the handlers and dogs both on their toes," Sgt. Hanania said. "We try to do a lot of unknown searches versus known. That way, when the handler's out, they're walking the dog, they're searching for their aids. If we could make them think like the bad guys do and put them in that situation to detect it before it happens for real, it keeps us out on the cutting edge to keep anything from happening here."

It's called high-visibility explosive detection and the ins and outs of it are kept secret to keep criminals guessing.

For people like Audra Ward who take the light rail every day, it's an added level of security that she and other riders appreciate.

"They can sniff out things that we can't smell," she said. "I feel protected."

Providing that comfort is part of the goal, while keeping the valley as safe as possible.