With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions approaching some Lubbockites are packing their bags to go. But these guys aren't going in support of the candidates, rather to protect them.
Meet Biff and Mickey. Lubbock County's two bomb sniffing, weapon finding K-9's. Handlers and bomb technicians Sergeant David Turner and Deputy Chris Eppler travel all over the country with these specially trained labs, sniffing out every major event you can think of to keep the public safe.
"Just this year alone we were at the Super Bowl back in February, we were there a few weeks securing the staging area. We were at the Terry Nichols trial for a week this year. Biff and I just returned from the G-8 Summit in Georgia, protecting 12 of the most powerful men in the world."
And then Turner and Biff spent a week at Mount Rushmore. In about two weeks this team will be leaving to cover the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
"We'll have 12 ATF dogs, plus military and secret service dogs to help us do that. When we return, we'll be going to the Sturgess Motor Cycle rally in South Dakota," says Sgt Turner.
The schedule for Eppler and Mickey is also demanding. "This weekend I've got the All Star Games in Houston, helping to secure the areas there. And then I'll be going to the Republican National Convention in New York," Chris Eppler said.
But their work doesn't stop on the road. Both dogs are trained to work for their food, so everyday Turner and Eppler plant devices the dogs have to sniff out to eat. They also work Lubbock County and our surrounding 22 counties on a regular basis.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms funded both dogs, with approval from Lubbock County Sheriff David Gutierrez.Their handlers say the K-9's are an invaluable tool not just to West Texas, but the Nation.