State Capitol kept safe by Ringo the bomb dog - - Jackson, MS

State Capitol kept safe by Ringo the bomb dog

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Ringo the bomb dog, a six-year-old Belgian Malinois, can be seen at the Mississippi State Capitol on a regular basis. Deputy State Fire Marshal John Russell brings him to check for explosives, using the dog's sense of smell that reaches far beyond human capability. 

"I train him on around 26 odors, but there's numerous other explosives beyond those 26 that he can alert on," Russell says. "Some of the odors he can smell, you can stick the explosive right in your face, and you can't smell anything different, but he smells it as soon as he walks in the room." 

Russell leads Ringo, or perhaps Ringo leads Russell, on a 45-minute trot through offices and the Senate and House floor. The bomb sniffing program at the State Capitol has been going on for a few years, and so far Russell has never alerted on any danger, except the substances Russell deliberately leaves out for Ringo at the end of a job well done.

But safeguards are in place to ensure Ringo doesn't get too comfortable with the routine. 

"I try to keep a different pattern, that way the dog doesn't get used to finding his odor in one place every time," Russell explains. 

It also sharpens Ringo's exceptional sensory skills, which could one day prevent a tragedy at the Capitol. 

"It's not just a kid making a pipe bomb in his closet anymore. You can really learn how to make some dangerous stuff online," Russell says. "Because it's more readily available now, the threat has increased." 

Ringo has never alerted to a dangerous substance at the Capitol that shouldn't have been there. However, the very first time Russell handled Ringo, they responded to a bomb threat at a school. Ringo alerted to ammonium nitrate in the school, which was there for educational purposes. 

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