The Office of Field Operations within U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervises the largest law enforcement canine program in the world. With more than 1,200 canine units and Field Canine Coordinators, the OFO ensures that the United States is secure from terrorists and criminals by interdicting narcotics, concealed individuals, hidden plants and livestock, and currency at the nation’s airports, seaports, land crossings, and borders. Canine units play a key role in the detection and seizure of weapons and explosives as well as marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
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The U.S. CBP has operated their canine training program since 1986, and currently runs the U.S. Border Patrol’s National Canine Facility which utilize the finest instructional methods in the world to help train canines and their Field Canine Coordinator handlers. These detection teams have been used throughout the country and around the world to help ensure the safety of American facilities, assets and personnel by detecting, tracking and apprehending criminals and terrorists.
Field Canine Coordinator Job Description
Field Canine Coordinators are expected to possess the following competencies:
- Lead, guide, and direct canines and support personnel during interdiction operations
- Manage interdiction strategies at airports, mass transit, seaports, and border crossings
- Conduct investigations into narcotics, weapons, or human smuggling operations
- Detect and locate explosives, chemical or biological weapons
- Search and rescue individuals who are lost, injured or incapacitated due to accident or natural disaster
- Pursue and apprehend undocumented aliens attempting to enter the U.S. illegally
- Track and capture fugitives or criminals of foreign origin
Field Canine Coordinator Salary and Job Benefits
The exceptional professional and academic qualifications necessary to serve as a Field Canine Coordinator as well as the hazardous duties often associated with this position are often well compensated. According to USAJobs.gov, the salary for Field Canine Coordinators may range from $47,924-$119,416 per year. The exact annual salary is dependent upon the level of training, academic background and past professional experience. Salary is also contingent upon the exact nature of the canine duties. K-9 units assigned to more hazardous duties like explosives detection may receive more compensation than those tasked with narcotics interdiction. Salary is also adjusted according to the job location and cost of living.
As federal employees, Field Canine Coordinators are granted an outstanding benefits package that includes the following.
- Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) allows enrollment in one of a number of available health insurance plans
- Health Savings Account (HSA) is a voluntary program that helps defray any medical expenses with additional savings
- Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP)is a voluntary plan that covers vision and dental expenses not covered under FEHB
- Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) provides benefits for the death of the federal employee and eligible family members
- SAMBA Employee Benevolent Fund (EBF) provides $17,500 in benefits with a $26 annual payment or $35,000 in benefits for a $52 annual fee in the case of the worker’s death
- Federal Long Term Care Insurance (LTC) covers the expenses of extended stays in rehabilitation centers or nursing homes
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) will help defray the costs of medical and dependent care
- Retirement benefits plans allow full retirement after 20 to 30 years of service
For more about how to become a CBP field canine coordinator, click here.