MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — Pope Francis arrived in the United States for the first time today, Sept. 22, 2015. He plans to meet with President Barack Obama, Congress and address the U.N. among other things. His arrival is expected to produce one of the largest security details ever seen in America.
The New York Police Department is planning to have more than 7,000 uniformed and undercover officers on the streets, while Department of Defense personnel will also be on scene. Even the 366th Security Forces Squadron has a hand in the security detail.
Three military working dogs from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho have been sent to offer additional protection for Pope Francis and more than 200 world leaders attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.
“There are hundreds of dogs in the DOD helping out, but it’s pretty neat considering our guys were hand selected to provide security for the Pope.” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Prim, 366th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog kennel master.
The dogs from Mountain Home AFB are specially trained to detect and alert their handlers of explosive devices. With so many world leaders meeting in one place, the potential threat to national security is much higher than normal. Along with the FBI and CIA, only highly skilled MWDs are selected to secure areas for the Pope.
“We’ve got some of the best dogs in the country,” said Prim. “It’s a very hard mission but without their presence, security could fall and the psychological deterrence would be far less significant.”