Provo bomb squad gets 2 new canine officers

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jul 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-21 00:25:43-04

PROVO, Utah – The Provo Police Department just hired its newest staff members for the bomb squad.

The two new additions to the department are dogs, but they aren’t the typical police dogs. When the dogs finish training, they’ll have the ability to prevent attacks like the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Billy and Zima are Provo police’s newest bomb dogs, and they are gifts from the military and assets to the state. Provo Mayor John Curtis said there are a variety of uses for the highly trained animals. He said they can quickly sniff out things like bombs or guns.

“In Provo we have a lot of special events—freedom festival, parades, marathons...there will be a number of ways they'll be helpful for us,” he said.

Until now, Utah County law enforcement only had five bomb dogs, which means they’ve been spread thin for sporting events, school campuses, concerts, festivals and unexpected emergencies.

Lt. Matthew Siafanua, Provo Police Department, said the dogs are a much-needed addition.

"I think in our city last month we had about four EOD calls, where we had to have roads shut down, officers come out, perimeters set up, and the dogs come down and do the search, or do the sniffs on them, and so we borrow dogs from other agencies," he said.

The dogs will also eventually be utilized at the Provo Airport. The dogs work full-time, and Bryce Lewis of the Provo bomb squad said the dog Billy will mostly be seen at Timpview High School and other local campuses.

“To go down before an assembly, there's been plots up in, I believe it was Roy, where kids were gonna set off pipe bombs at an assembly, so we can go clear that stuff, and we expect to get called out all the time," he said. "He'll be coming with me on those call outs."

Officials said Zima and Billy will finish their training by September.