Dogs in bomb-detecting harnesses help NYPD patrol the city

·3 min read

The New York City Police Department recently deployed new technology for the canine unit to help prevent terrorist attacks — and keep the Big Apple's subway system safe.

The technology is called TREDD, which stands for "Transit Enhanced Detection Dog."

It takes the idea of the bomb-sniffing dog to a whole new level.

TREDD is an advanced explosive detection system. It pairs canines trained in explosives detection with special harnesses equipped with electronics.


The sensors inside the harnesses enable the dogs to detect radiation and other biological or chemical agents that the dogs' noses can't.

Lt. John Pappas, commander of Transit Bureau K9, which is located in Queens, created the concept. Through intelligence, he realized terror organizations were finding ways to bypass the city's anti-terror security measures.

".What I found in the intelligence … is that international terror organizations like al Qaeda, ISIS and many others were intentionally creating a gap in our detection capability specific to the dog," he told Fox News.

"They were kind of gearing it to avoid detection by a dog."

"They were starting to create unconventional explosive devices, things that they knew — because they study us — that these dogs cannot detect. Normal explosives like TNT and C-4 and dynamite, they know that these dogs can detect. So they went a different route."

Using funding from grants, Lt. Pappas and the NYPD worked with private technology company Blueforce Development Corporation, based in Massachusetts, to make his idea a reality.

Once the harness was created, the NYPD teamed up with the FDNY to create a training program to determine what the sensors could detect — and how to understand the readings.

The sensors on the harness send readings to a mobile command post in real time. Members of the NYPD are then able to track the readings and respond in real time, giving the commander eyes and ears on the ground.


"I can stay in one location. I can track them all over," said NYPD Officer Edwin Ramirez, one of the trainers.

"So if we have a team that's in Brooklyn or a team that was sent to Manhattan, I can pull them up and see where they are at the same time — without being on scene — and get all the readings and information from them."

Lt. Pappas said he used TREDD dogs during the Brooklyn April 12th subway shooting.

"We had these units deployed there, and I knew exactly where they are. I knew exactly what they were detecting," Lt. Pappas said. "And I would move my pieces around to make sure that I've covered all the areas that needed to be swept."

The NYPD is the only police department in the world with this technology, as Fox News reported earlier this week.

The first version debuted in 2015 during the United Nations General Assembly and the pope’s visit.

Since then, the NYPD has continued to update the system as they gather new intel.

Lt. Pappas said the NYPD used their time productively during the COVID lockdowns.

"During the pandemic, when everybody was locked down, it was an opportunity to finally fine-tune it and upgrade the technology," said Pappas.

"And we took advantage of the lockdown to do just that."

"I can honestly say that our team, the NYPD K9 program, came out of the lockdown much stronger than when we went into it because we had time to train."

"We had time to upgrade our equipment, fine-tune it and kind of finalize this version of it to put it out there."

While the NYPD created TREDD, they have demonstrated it for the Pentagon and shared the info with other partners — but no one else has TREDD dogs.

"It does us no good to hoard this when there's a threat like this up against all of us. This isn't just a threat to New York City," said Lt. Pappas.

"Again, this is an example of how the NYPD goes out of its way to protect its citizens — and at the same time, the citizens of the world by sharing information like this," he said.