Washington, D.C. – On Monday, July 16, 2018 at 9:30 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a field hearing on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Canine Training Center in Front Royal, Virginia. At the hearing, Deputy Director Thomas Brandon will testify about the ATF’s National Canine Division. Following the hearing, there will be a live explosives detection demonstration with some of the ATF’s canines and a tour of the facility. Members of the media will have access to the hearing, demonstration, and subsequent facility tour.
The ATF is a law enforcement agency within the Department of Justice tasked with investigating crimes involving firearms, explosives, and arson in order to reduce crime, prevent terrorism, and keep the public safe. The ATF’s National Canine Division trains canines to be able to sniff out explosives and small traces of ignitable liquid accelerants. Since 1990, ATF has trained over 900 explosives detection canines and over 250 accelerant detection canines and have been used by federal, state, local, and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies.
Recently, there have been efforts to move the National Canine Division from Front Royal, Virginia to the National Center for Explosives Training and Research in Huntsville, Alabama. However, a study has found that the proposed move would cost nearly $40 million and would jeopardize the canines’ ability to detect explosives and keep the public safe.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below in advance of this field hearing.
Chairman Goodlatte: “For the past quarter century, ATF’s National Canine Division has had tremendous success in training dogs to detect explosives and traces of flammable liquid in order to prevent and solve crimes across the United States and the world. Just recently, ATF-trained dogs were instrumental in aiding the investigation into a series of bombings in Austin, Texas. The training facility in Front Royal provides the clean air and quiet location the dogs need in order to learn how to do their job, but there has been a proposal to move the facility to a place that could adversely impact the canines’ ability to detect explosives and keep the public safe.
“Next week, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a field hearing at the ATF’s Canine Training Center, and Deputy Director Brandon will provide members an overview of the ATF’s canine training program. We will also get to see a live demonstration of how the canines detect harmful substances and tour the facility to witness the daily operations of this successful training program.”
Media Guidance: The hearing will take place at the Warren County Government Center located at 220 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630. After the hearing, the canine demonstration and tour will take place at the ATF Canine Training Center located at 122 Cavalry Drive Front Royal, VA 22630. It will also be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov.
On the day of the hearing, media will be allowed access at 9:00 a.m. for setup. Members of the media MUST RSVP to Jessica Collins at Jessica.Collins@mail.house.gov by Thursday, July 12 at 4:00 p.m. For media seeking access to ATF’s canine facility for the demonstration and tour, it is recommended that you RSVP as soon as possible to fill out the required paperwork for facility access.