SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Stopping a crime before it starts is the job of a unique team on Utah’s Capitol Hill. They’re in charge of watching over the state legislature now in session and rely on a member of the team that can really pick up the scent, in this edition of Behind The Badge.
Protecting the Utah State Capitol takes the right team with a good nose for the job. Before local lawmakers meet each day for Utah’s 2022 legislative session, Corporal Rod Elmer of the Utah Highway Patrol and his bomb-sniffing K9 “Titan” make sure each area and every package delivered is safe.
“Our main purpose is to just make sure nothing nefarious has happened before we got there,” said Cpl. Rod Elmer, Utah Highway Patrol.
They detect explosives unlike many Turner and Hooch teams before them. Elmer said Titan is trained to follow the scent of gun powder while it’s on the move.
“The normal bomb dog is trained to find a static item, an item that’s been left behind, Titan can do that as well, but he’s been trained to, once he finds that odor, to follow it to the source and if that source is moving he’ll be able to find which person in that crowd has the explosive on them,” said Elmer.
In the last 18 months, Titan has already worked big events like Super Bowl 54 and gets the call when big politicians come to town.
So, to put Titan to the test, ABC4 News hid an explosive odor inside a briefcase just to see if Corporal Elmer’s K9 can detect it. Carrying the briefcase, Reporter Brian Carlson slipped into a capitol tour group and Titan sniffed it out with flying colors.
“He’s one of the best detection dogs that I’ve seen,” said Elmer.
With Titan smelling the way, people at the Utah Capitol can feel safe this dog can’t be tricked.
Corporal Elmer said Titan would’ve been instrumental in stopping the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. He said at the time the bombers waited until after the drug dogs did their sweep, then they brought in the bomb afterward.
With Titan, he could’ve done the sweep and stayed to pick up the scent even once all the people had arrived.