Home News Stories 2004 February The NTJTTF's Newest Canine Member

The NTJTTF's Newest Canine Member

The Secret Weapon of the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force
Yes, we DO Have a Dog in This Fight

02/26/04

kuhnell022604.jpgMeet "Mint," a five-year-old black Lab who is one of the newest (and most well liked) members of the Fort Worth, Texas office of the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force (NTJTTF). He's a "different breed" of public servant, but just as serious as his human mates about protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks.

Not a new concept. We've put the unique skills of dogs to work for years to locate bombs, drugs, money, and people. And it's not the first time that dogs have been called to action in the war on terror. Just days after the attacks of 9/11/01, 28 K-9 teams helped recover remains at the Pentagon. But, we believe Mint is one of only a few pups working directly for a JTTF.

What was our recruiting process? No, not a job fair. In November 2002, NTJTTF member Lt. David Kuhnell of the Fort Worth fire department bomb squad met Mint during a trip to Great Britain to find an "explosive detection canine," and the two immediately hit it off. On Mint's resume: he worked the streets of Northern Ireland and helped clear roads of bombs for Queen Elizabeth.

What's the job? Mint can sniff out the smallest traces of explosives, and do it exponentially faster than his human counterparts and tirelessly, with no complaints, few breaks, and no overtime. Already, Mint has helped with security sweeps for the likes of First Lady Laura Bush and Vice President Cheney, spent a grueling seven straight days in the swamps and piney woods of east Texas searching for "explosives charges" from the fallen Columbia space shuttle, and sniffed for bombs all night long after a domestic terrorist threatened to detonate a large truck bomb in Fort Worth.

That's why Mint is in such high demand: not just by the NTJTTF offices in Fort Worth and Dallas, but also by many law enforcement agencies in the area.

What about the two-legged members of the NTJTTF in Ft. Worth? They are nearly two-dozen strong, and they hail from the full gamut of agencies: local, state, and federal. They include special agents, local police officers, an Arabic linguist, SWAT experts, bomb techs, Evidence Response Team members, intelligence analysts, and more. The team does it all when it comes to fighting terrorism: running down leads, making arrests, responding to threats and incidents 24/7, hosting training symposiums, and sharing intelligence far and wide.

For more on how K-9s help the FBI, see the special section on dogs in our kid's page. For an overview of efforts to prevent attacks, see our Counterterrorism website and terrorist cases.