Chief Michael Lyle reports that the Melrose Police Department will host more than 100 police canine teams from across New England later this month for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Odor Recognition Testing (NORT) and certification program.

NORT is a voluntary test to evaluate a K-9 team’s ability to detect 10 fundamental explosive odors. Congress recognizes the test as the benchmark proficiency standard for effective canine explosives detection. The National Canine Division of the ATF will conduct the NORT and certification process for the canine teams.

Testing will be conducted near Beebe Elementary School. Residents in that area can expect to see about 20 police vehicles in the area on each day of the three-day event.

“I’m thrilled to welcome the ATF and all the canine teams from across New England to our wonderful City, and so is our own explosives detection K-9 Giselle, who joined the force just last year after she completed training at the ATF National K-9 Division in Front Royal, Virginia,” said Chief Lyle. “We’re honored we can serve as hosts to these canine officer teams, and help facilitate the ATF’s efforts to ensure that canine teams across the country are well trained and prepared for the important duties they perform.”


From Tuesday, March 29, to Thursday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Beebe Elementary School, 263 W. Foster St., Melrose


During a three-day training and evaluation session, explosive-detection canine teams at all levels of government use NORT to identify gaps in training aids, learn about inadvertent training aid contamination, and practice odor detection in a professional training environment. NORT training also allows handlers to exchange information on trends and best practices with colleagues and ask questions of ATF canine and explosives subject matter experts. At the end of the training and practice session, teams can elect to perform the official NORT single-blind test administered by ATF.

ATF conducts about 12 NORT sessions a year nationwide for about 500 explosive-detection canine teams.

ATF’s National Canine Division is charged with training explosives, firearms and accelerant detection canines for federal, state, local and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies. ATF is the leading source of specially trained explosives-, firearms- and accelerant-detection canine teams. Once trained, the canine teams are assigned to local, state and other federal law enforcement agencies, as well as select foreign countries. The teams regularly lend support to investigations and security efforts.

This event is testing the proficiency of Explosives Detection K-9’s to detect explosives odors. The K-9 teams that are being tested are from law enforcement agencies throughout New England. The testing is being administered the ATF K-9 trainers and ATF chemists from the ATF National K9 Division in Front Royal, Virginia. The event is being hosted by the Melrose Police Department and supported by the Everett Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, and the U.S. National Park Service.

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