TSA adds bomb-sniffing dogs in NJ for Super Bowl
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Newark Liberty International Airport is going to the dogs — the bomb-sniffing kind.
The Transportation Security Administration said it has added about two dozen dogs to monitor passengers coming in and out of the airport around the Super Bowl. Tens of thousands of extra travelers are expected to visit the region for the game.
Neighboring LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports aren't adding any additional K-9s for the big game.
On Saturday morning, TSA agents demonstrated how the dogs can sniff out many different types of explosives. Once they do, they're trained to sit rather than attack, so as not to raise suspicion or create a panic.
The dogs are mainly Labradors or Lab mixes, which are considered a good hunting breed and people-friendly. TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the dogs undergo 12 weeks of training, which costs about $200,000, factoring in food, vehicles and salaries for trainers.
Dogs have been used in cargo areas for some time, but have just been introduced recently in passenger areas at Newark and JFK airports. JFK has one dog and Newark has a handful, Farbstein said.
The TSA has also added 200 screeners at Newark to handle the larger volume of travelers, and Farbstein said TSA agents from LaGuardia Airport will be performing screening on train passengers at New York Penn Station and New Jersey's Secaucus Junction on Super Bowl Sunday.
The TSA said Friday that fans will not be allowed on the rail line that serves MetLife Stadium on Sunday unless they show their ticket to the game and adhere to the NFL's bag policy.
All fans boarding trains to the stadium from Secaucus Junction Station, the start of NJ Transit's 6.8-mile line to the stadium in East Rutherford, must pass through a security checkpoint manned by TSA agents.
Only people who show agents a valid Super Bowl ticket will be allowed to pass through the security checkpoint and board a train, said John Durkin, special agent in charge of the TSA Newark field office.
Fans will only be allowed to carry a small clutch bag or purse that's no bigger than 6.5 by 4.5 inches and a clear plastic bag that's about as big as a freezer storage bag, per the NFL's bag policy.