Paws Up for This Crime Fighting Duo

October 22, 2019 -- Even though the police force is always innovating, there’s nothing man-made that can outmatch the precision and accuracy of a canine’s sense of smell. That’s what makes TVA’s two new police dogs, Harley and Bronson, a valuable addition to the team.

A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute as a human’s. With 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses compared to about 6 million in our own, scientists compare this to being able to catch the whiff of one rotten apple in 2 million apple barrels.

It’s that ability that Harley and Bronson will use to help TVA Police sniff out suspicious activity. In their training to become explosive detection canines (EDCs), they will learn to: 

  • Detect the presence of illegal substances
  • Detect explosive materials such as, Sulphur, nitroglycerin and gunpowder
  • Detect the chemical traces of accelerants (used for starting illegal fires)
  • Follow a scent on the ground or in the air

While the dogs check stray bags and boxes around the Chattanooga and Knoxville work areas, they also sweep the buildings and mailrooms, and offer an added level of protection at board meetings and other highly attended company events like TVA’s Business Plan Rollout.

These are the same duties that TVA Police dog Creed carried out before retiring from the force this past September. After Creed stepped down at the age of 12, TVA Police recruited Harley and Bronson. Though fully grown, they’re both still pups in terms of their years of service. Harley is three years old, going on her sixth month as a TVA police dog, while Bronson is only a couple of months older than her and hasn’t begun his training yet.

Not all bark and bite

According to K-9 Officers Jason Cleveland and Ken Kaminsky, both Harley and Bronson are allowed to interact with TVA employees while on duty or at events. However, it’s important that employees ask before petting them.

“Because they’re around people all day, the number one thing is to make them social,” Cleveland said. “We love getting requests to interact with them, and we almost always say yes. Sometimes we’ll ask for employees to allow them to finish an important job first, but employees are welcome to pet them once they do.”

Harley is stationed in Knoxville with Officer Cleveland, and Bronson is stationed in Chattanooga with Officer Kaminsky. Both police dogs are trained to fulfill the same duties, but their personalities are quite unique.

“Harley is extremely playful. Especially at home with my kids,” Cleveland laughed. “She goes after anything that looks like a toy. And Bronson, he may look like a police dog on the outside, but he’s just a big teddy bear. You have no idea how friendly he is until you meet him. We at TVA Police appreciate their energy. ”

“The best part about having them on the team is the extra layer of security they bring to the table,” Kaminsky said. “Every day they’re helping us protect the employees of TVA.”

So if you happen to see Harley or Bronson on the job, ask to give them a pat of thanks for the work they’re doing to safeguard TVA’s two campuses — one bark, and sniff, at a time.