Photo/Story Gallery 2003

FHP Bomb Dog at Shuttle Launch

Trooper Van Leer and K-9 Maverick, a black Labrador Retriever, are shown in the upper left portion of the photo. The Florida Highway Patrol recently participated in the most intense security operation in the history of the Space Shuttle Program. At the request of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, K-9 Maverick, because of his explosive detecting abilities, and Troopers Mike Van Leer and Kurt Hardley, were asked to assist in the security operation for the Space Shuttle launch of STS 107.

The shuttle carried an Israeli astronaut along with the American crew. K-9 Maverick’s primary responsibility was site security at the Hilton Hotel in Cocoa, where most of the Israeli dignitaries were staying, including the ambassador to Israel. K-9 Maverick checked nearly 250 vehicles for explosives. Explosive detector K-9’s from Lake, Volusia, and Brevard County Sheriff’s Offices also participated. The detail received worldwide media attention, and was partly responsible for an on time launch of the Space Shuttle.

Trooper Van Leer and K-9 Maverick, a black Labrador Retriever, are shown in the upper left portion of the above photo.

In Remembrance

Challenger Crew