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Port Authority police dogs keep America safe: One woof at a time

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Josh Einiger reports on the Port Authority police dogs.

Amid the hustle and bustle of people running to catch planes, make connections, and check their baggage at Newark Liberty International Airport; there's a corner that's conspicuously empty except for two cops. One has two legs, the other has four.

Port Authority Officer Angel Alejandro and his K-9 partner Kuna are clearing unattended baggage. He checks it for booby traps, then Kuna sniffs it for explosives. It may seem like a drill, but Kuna stands between life and death.

"There's always a potential for a bag to have an explosive in it," Alejandro said. "That's why I'm in business."

Three months ago, four new dogs arrived for training. One was Kuna. They were so new, they hadn't even been trained to sit.

"When they graduate after 14 weeks, these guys feel really confident," said Sergeant Thomas Herring, the officer in charge of K-9 training "That's the most satisfaction, to see a cop and a dog become one as a team and feel comfortable out there protecting the public."

The dogs transform from gangly adolescents to highly trained, elite officers. Kuna would search for simulated explosives in airports, the bus terminal, and at the World Trade Center.

For Kuna, it isn't easy work. The Port Authority runs some of the busiest transportation hubs in the country, and she has to tune out any number of distractions.

Earlier this year, Kuna and Alejandro graduated together. Now, she lives with him and his family, and they are partners in every way. They have cemented a bond human police partners struggle to attain.

"There's no better example of loyalty than a K-9 partner," Alejandro said.

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pets-animalsdogbomb squadk-9port authoritynewark liberty international airportNewarkEssex County
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