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Detector Dog Research

The first statewide K-9 trainer and detection team certification program with independent scientific validation was started in 1998. A joint project of the International Forensic Science Research Institute and the National Forensic Science Technology Center works in collaboration with the Florida Highway Patrol Contraband Interdiction Program and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in addition to other partners. For more information, visit


The program is intended to provide recommended scientific standards of practice for trainers and organizations while giving an additional layer of credentials to detection teams. Since 1998 it has been offered free of charge to agencies via grants and public service.

  • Goal

    The ongoing goal of this program is to continue to advance scientifically sound detection K-9 validation programs which are internationally recognized and improve contraband interdiction, from local enforcement to courtroom defensibility.

  • Guidelines

    Annually, more than 100 detection teams from dozens of different agencies across the state of Florida, including all of the Florida Highway Patrol’s narcotic and explosive detection teams, have been certified through this program. Teams also have been certified in other states as well as internationally (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). The program includes all types of detection canines including for arson, currency, drugs, explosives, persons, pests and weapons. Review the certification guidelines.

  • Meetings and Conferences

    The International Forensic Research Institute and National Forensic Science Technology Center hosted the 2nd National Detector Dog Conference (NDDC) from May 22 to 25, 2001, in North Miami Beach, Florida, bringing together more than 30 invited speakers and 110 participants from dozens of different agencies and various countries. IFRI and NFSTC also hosted the 3rd NDDC from May 19 to 23, 2003, with the theme of “The Expanding Role of Detection Canines in Homeland Security.” This meeting brought together more than 40 invited speakers and 130 attendees including many of the world’s leading experts in the field of detector dogs - scientists, handlers, trainers and administrators. On October 24th, 2011, IFRI and NFSTC hosted an explosives detector dog handler workshop titled "Controlled Odor Mimic Permeation Systems (COMPS) from Development to Deployment and Beyond." This workshop brought together more than 40 local and state explosive canine handlers to showcase new nonhazardous canine training aid devices developed by IFRI.

    Draft best practices for detector dog teams have been developed, refined and published at

  • Parties

    Florida International University (FIU) is a public Research I University located in Miami, Florida. The International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI) was the first academic Forensic Center approved by the State in 1997 to serve law enforcement efforts in the application of scientific principles to the administration of justice. FIU houses some of the State’s premier forensic science programs, including undergraduate programs since 1978 and the first State-approved graduate program in Forensic Science starting in 1998. The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) is a Florida not-for-profit corporation located in Largo, Florida. The NFSTC was established by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) in 1995 and has as its mission the development of several initiatives aimed at servicing various segments of the forensic science community.