A Minnesota university has hired a Labrador retriever to sniff out bombs before events on campus, track lost items and find missing people.

A Minnesota university has hired a Labrador retriever to sniff out bombs before events on campus, track lost items and find missing people.

The Minnesota Daily (http://bit.ly/2s4wRKs ) reported that the University of Minnesota Police Department has welcomed Gator onto the force. Gator completed canine training May 25 with his handler, Officer Allan Cunningham.

The 12-week training process including performing mock car searches, tracking people and objects by smell and going over basics like sitting on command. Cunningham had to pass an interview with head canine trainer Joe Fuller to prove he was fit for the job.

The university police department is among other local and national departments that are moving away from apprehension dogs and toward more friendly bomb-sniffing dogs. The shift is for both community relations and security reasons, Cunningham said.
The university police department has 15 apprehension dogs, though eight are also trained to detect explosives. The department began adding bomb dogs about 5 years ago, Cunningham said.
University police department chief Matthew Clark said single-purpose bomb dogs are in higher demand.

"We recognize that there's a need for high-level security for the campus and events we hold," Clark said. "Especially with the Super Bowl coming, we know that having a single-purpose explosive dog is important."

Gator was hand-picked by the department and flown in from Florida. Labradors make better bomb dogs because the breed has a lower capacity for aggression, Cunningham said.

Gator now lives with Cunningham full-time.