Public transportation is among the most sensitive targets of terrorism, and now the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has new dedicated tools to protect passengers: Yoshi and Nala, two bomb-sniffing, but affable, Labrador Retrievers.
The canine officers and their Sheriff’s Transit Patrol handlers just completed their last week of training before Thanksgiving and will begin patrolling the VTA system this week.
These two additions to the Transit Patrol canine unit are exclusively for bomb detection. Their jurisdiction spans across VTA’s 346 square mile bus and light rail service area.
In addition to full-time work with VTA, the dogs will also support the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, which is available for mutual aid to other agencies.
One notable characteristic about these dogs is their friendly temperament. They’re trained to detect potentially dangerous devices in large crowds, but do so in a way that is not threatening to people. That temperament allows them to work efficiently while navigating potentially large crowds.