The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has trained canines and their Field Canine Coordinator handlers to since 1986 for their detection duties. They get intensive training from the Customs and Border Protection Canine Program which is a merger of the Office of Border Patrol Canine Program and the Office of Field Operations Canine Program. It now operates in two training facilities located in El Paso, Texas and Front Royal, Virginia. Canine teams and Field Canine Coordinators are given instruction on such disciplines as concealed human/narcotics detection, passenger processing narcotic detection, search and rescue, and currency/firearms detection. The Canine Program of the CBP is the largest and most diverse program in the country composed of around 1,500 canine teams.Aside from Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency also hires Field Canine Coordinators in its roster. Under the command of the Office of Field Operations with the CBP, Field Canine Coordinators secures the United States from terrorists and criminals. They interdict narcotics, concealed individuals, hidden plans and livestock, and currency at the nation’s airports, seaports, land crossings, and borders. Their canine units are especially trained to detect and seize weapons, explosives, and illegal drugs. Dogs are trained to sit when they sniff marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine in baggage, other containers, and vehicles in various entry points in the country.
So what exactly does a Field Canine Coordinator do on the job? One of their missions is to lead, guide, and direct canines and support personnel whenever they have interdiction operations. They also manage interdiction strategies at airports, mass transit, seaports, and border crossings. They also work with other agents in detecting and locating explosives, chemical or biological weapons and work to search and rescue individuals who are lost or injured because of an accident or natural disaster. Like other CBP employees, they also pursue and apprehend undocumented aliens who try to enter the U.S through illegal means. But the most challenging part of the job of a Field Canine Coordinator is tracking and capturing fugitives or criminals.
Canine Field Coordinators and their dogs work together to ensure that they carry out their mission. To ensure that the CBP has suitable dogs to accompany the handlers, it also maintains a breeding program of working and sporting breed dogs. These are whelped and cared for and when they turn 7 to 14 months old, they are evaluated for their suitability to enter one of the formal detection canine courses.
Canine Field Coordinators earn anywhere from $47,924-$119,416 per year. Those units doing more dangerous work such as explosives detection are paid higher compared to those who are doing less hazardous stuff like the interdiction of narcotics. Training, academic background, and past professional experience also play a role in the salary received by a Canine Field Coordinator. As CBP workers, they also receive various Federal benefits.