AUBURN, Ala. – Amtrak’s chief of police and program manager are the first individuals to be recognized by the Auburn University Canine Detection Research Institute (CDRI) for their enduring contributions to canine detection.
Shown are Associate Director of the Auburn University Canine Detection Research Institute John Pearce, Amtrak Canine Program Manager William Parker, Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor, and Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Tim Boosinger.
Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor and Inspector William Parker are the first recipients of the War Eagle Spirit Award. They were honored recently following a graduation ceremony for detection dogs and handlers at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“Our graduates wouldn’t have the extent of knowledge and understanding of canine olfaction, training, and detection if it were not for the hard work and dedication of those within the canine detection industry – interested individuals in associated industries who utilize detector dogs and, of course, academia,” said John Pearce, associate director of the Canine Detection Research Institute.
Chief O’Connor first visited Auburn’s CDRI in 2007. “At that time he told us he wanted Amtrak to have the most reputable program possible,” Pearce said. “Chief O’Connor’s drive and determination have quickly given the Amtrak Police Department a canine program that is second to none. He provides support and is willing to seek innovative ways to apply canine detection to protect the traveling public from acts of terrorism.”
Inspector William Parker is the canine program manager for Amtrak. Already well known for managing canine security at multiple airports within the area of Washington , D.C., Inspector Parker came to Amtrak in 2007 to strengthen and expand its program. “Amtrak’s canine detection program quickly became the benchmark for other canine programs,” said Pearce. “Inspector Parker’s innovative deterrence strategies and use of dogs is changing how mass transit canine detection operates.”
Auburn University’s Canine Detection Research Institute has over 20 years of research activities involving canine detection and the process of canine olfaction. The Auburn University program is the largest canine detection research program in the United States and its Canine Detection Training Center is one of the largest outside the federal government.