Hoover, Alabama—

Canines trained in the Vapor Detection Public Safety Canine Program will be deployed at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover to detect explosives and carried firearms. These Vapor Detection Canines are part of a set of sweeping security reforms Riverchase Galleria management is implementing after an 8 year-old boy was killed in a shooting on the property in early July 2020.

Vapor Detection technology is a scientifically backed and patented training program that allows canines to detect the trace odors given off by carried or body-worn explosives and firearms. Unlike typical detection canines that require screening queues and close interaction with individuals, Vapor Detection canines unobtrusively screen disorderly mass-pedestrian crowds for explosives and weapons. The Public Safety Canine Program aims to provide greater screening capabilities to traditionally soft targets, like the Galleria.

“It has always been VWK9′s mission to utilize our innovative techniques and patented training protocols to provide canine detection capabilities that address the increasing threats across our nation,” VWK9 President Paul Hammond told WBRC. “The addition of firearms detection capability to our Vapor Detection canines allows us to serve the public and assist in making our nation a safer place. It is an honor to support our local community and to provide our canines in support of Riverchase Galleria’s ownership, management, tenants, and patrons.”

The City of Hoover and Galleria management have outlined a number of security reforms to prevent future shootings, including greater police presence, additional security measures in parking decks, and Vapor Detection canines.

The Riverchase Galleria is home to a number of prominent businesses, including the region’s only Costco location. It is the largest enclosed shopping center in the state of Alabama. Shopping malls are considered “soft targets” in the security world, due to their ease of access and lack of traditional safety measures designed to prevent explosives and weapons attacks. VWK9 seeks to bolster security at traditional soft targets through programs like the Public Safety Canine Program, which provide early detection of potential threats. VWK9 is the exclusive provider of Vapor Detection technology.

This blog is based on original reporting by WVTM and WBRC. Screenshot image taken from WBRC broadcast.