Posted by Bruce Wood on Jan 19, 2022
TSA Transportation Security Specialists Hilda Brinas (L) and Cynthia Ramirez (center) with K-9 team member Bonnie posing with Lake Houston Area Rotary Club president Kathy Lemman (R). Officers Ramirez and Brinas gave Rotarians a presentation on how their K-9 bomb sniffing dogs are trained and work security at area airports.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Houston area airports when it comes to passenger safety? Now may be your chance to find out.
Transportation Security Specialist Cynthia Ramirez spoke to Lake Houston Rotarians recently at their weekly luncheon about volunteer opportunities with the Transportation Safety Administration (more commonly known as TSA).
Officer Ramirez, a Humble resident, native Texan and Army veteran, explained the TSA is seeking volunteers as decoys to help their K-9 bomb detection efforts at Houston area airports. She and her partner, Hilda Brinas, help train bomb sniffing dogs in the TSA’s K-9 program.
The dogs receive 16-18 weeks of training before being sent to an airport for three additional months of further training. The K-9 dogs are then assessed and tested. Those that pass become part of the safety net at Houston airports.
The officers demonstrated some of the training exercises given to two of their K-9 bomb detection dogs, Bella and Bonnie, during their presentation. The dogs need people they don’t know as part of their training. That’s where the volunteers come in. Officer Ramirez is specifically seeking volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to help with the training at William P. Hobby Airport.
Volunteers work a minimum shift of two hours and may volunteer to work as many as five hours. Volunteers are needed Sunday through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Each dog is trained in one-half hour increments and only “work” a total of one and one-half hours per day.
K-9 dogs live with their handlers. The officers grow close to their dogs while working together. When the dogs “retire” from the K-9 unit they may be purchased by their handlers. Their handler receives food and medical coverage for their dogs while they are working. When they retire the expenses are picked up by the handler or the person who adopts them.
If you’re interested in learning more or volunteering, email Officer Ramirez with your name, address and phone number at .
For more information about how you can become a Rotary volunteer in the Lake Houston area community visit the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area’s website at or visit one of our weekly luncheon meetings at 11:45 a.m. every Wednesday at the Lake Houston Family YMCA.