Training and Testing Explosive Detection Dogs in Detecting Triacetone Triperoxide

By Schoon, Adee; Gotz, Sebastian et al. | Forensic Science Communications, October 2006 | Go to article overview

Training and Testing Explosive Detection Dogs in Detecting Triacetone Triperoxide


Schoon, Adee, Gotz, Sebastian, Heuven, Martijn, Vogel, Martin, Karst, Uwe, Forensic Science Communications


Abstract

Improvised explosive mixtures such as triacetone triperoxide (TATP) are a new challenge in combating terrorism and crime. Traditionally trained bomb dogs need to be trained on these products, but the dangers in synthesizing and storing these products create difficulties. In this study, training aids were developed based on TATP produced in very small amounts using pure base compounds. Both experienced and new dogs were trained using these aids. The dogs were subsequently tested on detecting solid crystalline TATP synthesized using different base compounds and production methods. Dogs trained to respond to the training aids demonstrated a sufficient response to different kinds of crystalline TATP, whereas no systematic false alerts on either acetone or hydrogen peroxide were noted.

Introduction

In today's world, improvised explosive devices and homemade explosives are a major threat to public safety. Often, these explosives are easy to make. Base components are readily available, and the production methods can be found on the Internet. However, because many of these homemade explosives are extremely sensitive to impact, friction, and electrostatic discharge, the synthesis as well as the storage can be extremely dangerous (Dubnikova et al. 2005). The friction sensitivity of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) is 0.3 Nm (nitroglycerin has a friction sensitivity of 0.2 Nm), and its explosive power is close to that of TNT (trinitrotoluene). It is classified as a primary high explosive. Incidents have been reported in which TATP has exploded without external stimulus. The known sensitivity of TATP creates a danger to those handling or storing even small amounts. TATP has been described as a common terrorist bomb by Hayden (2004), and it achieved notoriety through Shoe Bomber Richard Reid, who planned to use it on an American Airlines flight in December 2001.

Because TATP is highly volatile, it should be easy for dogs trained on its odor to locate it. However, TATP is extremely dangerous to synthesize and work with. It is therefore necessary to develop a training aid that can be produced in a safe manner. Using such an aid to train explosive detection dogs should enable them to find solid TATP--indeed, not only the TATP on which they were trained but also TATP produced in different manners, that is, by using different base components in different degrees of purity.

For example, acetone is a known degradation product of TATP (Oxley et al. 2002). This fact currently provides the basis for the training method used by some agencies in Israel, where dogs are trained to detect acetone. Based on this training method, the dogs are said to detect TATP (Gluk, personal communication, April 7, 2005). This can be a useful method depending on the operational use of the dogs. When working outdoors checking for car bombs, a dog is unlikely to come across acetone, which would create an unwanted alert. But in many countries, the same dogs that detect TATP are also used to conduct house searches, where they are likely to come across products containing acetone, such as nail polish remover. Thus, in the Netherlands, training with acetone was not considered an option.

Oxley et al. (2004) used trace amounts of solid TATP and TATP-vapor-saturated cotton balls to train and test dogs. They showed that two dogs trained on the vapor-saturated cotton balls responded directly to solid TATP both in a training-wheel situation and in a room search, after which they gradually increased the difficulty of the training-wheel tests. The tests were conducted blind, and in the room search, a non-TATP-trained bomb dog also searched the rooms as a control.

Two points of criticism can be made of this study. First, a proper test should contain distractors that have been placed at the same time as the target odor. This is necessary to prevent the dogs from using any cue other than the target odor itself. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Training and Testing Explosive Detection Dogs in Detecting Triacetone Triperoxide
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.