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High stakes testing for bomb-sniffing dogs comes to Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Tschetter and his K9 Jasmine sniff out scents during an ATF test at the OKC Fairgrounds.
Cheyenne Leach
/
KOSU
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Tschetter and his K9 Jasmine sniff out scents during an ATF test at the OKC Fairgrounds.

Before dogs can sniff out explosives they have to pass a test. One of those tests was held recently at the OKC Fairgrounds.

About 20 K9 units are in Oklahoma City for the AFT national odor recognition test. Trained on almost 19,000 smells, the dogs are tested on their ability to distinguish the difference between explosive materials and distracting odors.

The test consists of 15 cans, containing a multitude of scents. 2-year-old K9 officer Jasmine was able to identify all the “hot” or explosive materials in her test.

Once the animal has passed its test, the dog and their handler are federally certified and approved to assist in any situation.

As the dogs participated in the test, they were rewarded with toys and treats.

K9 officers are rewarded by either of the two methods, based on their personalities. AFT agents train their animals to be food driven, meaning they only receive food through their training.

Unlike dogs in the AFT, Jasmine is a toy driven K9, meaning she is rewarded with play for sniffing out scents accurately. Both methods have proven to be successful in odor recognition training.

Jasmine’s handler is Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Tschetter. And he has a lot of respect for his partner, which they put on display during testing.

That kind of bond is common between officers and their canines, said Special Agent Kevin Brown.

“Without a doubt, they are the heroes of the heroes,” Brown said.

Cheyenne Leach was KOSU's news intern in 2023 and 2024.
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