ALAMEDA, Calif. — Federal, state and local K-9 teams conducted helicopter training at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, Wednesday, in preparation for Super Bowl 50.
“In the event of an emergency during Super Bowl 50, there will be a significant impact on ground transportation,” said Lt. Neil Penso, pilot assigned to Air Station San Francisco. “Transporting K-9s and their handlers from site to site may require a helicopter.”
The training provided an opportunity for different agencies to familiarize the K-9s and handlers with the features aboard three different helicopters – Coast Guard MH-65, California Highway Patrol AStar, Air National Guard HH-60. The K-9 teams were able to familiarize themselves with the cabin configurations and safety features of each aircraft.
“One of the first steps in providing security for the Super Bowl is getting the dogs familiarized with the helicopters noise vibrations and seeing how they behave around it,” said Neil Wu, U.S. Park Police. “It’s better to find out how the dogs handle it now than later.”
“The exercise is outside normal duties for partner agencies,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Hartman, assigned to Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Francisco. “Our K-9s are accustomed to the noise of the engines and familiar with the cabin of the helicopters while other agencies may not be. In an event of an emergency, the other departments need to know what to expect in case they have to deploy aboard one to get to a location.”
The Coast Guard launched the K-9 program approximately one year after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The program’s goal is to enhance detection and deterrence capabilities in the maritime environment, adjacent lands and waterside installations. The Coast Guard K-9 teams are used in maritime ports, waterways and shoreline facilities.