CREVE COEUR, Mo. – Five synagogues in the St. Louis area received bomb threats on Sunday morning. Police responded quickly, with canine units from Creve Coeur and St. Louis County conducting thorough searches of each synagogue before giving the all-clear.
Officer Phillip Lane of the Creve Coeur Police Department and his partner, K9 Frizbi, were among the first on the scene. first responders.
“I’m kind of the eyes and part of the eyes is watching him and behavior changes,” Lane said. “If he’s in an area, and he catches an odor, he’ll start doing things; his head will snap or start sniffing the air. Then I know this is an area I need to concentrate on. He will sniff areas out and then we try to find what he’s looking for.”
For three years, Officer Lane and Frizbi have been sniffing out anything suspicious around the St. Louis region.
“They say it’s 100,000 times better than what we can do,” Lane said. “One of the stories we use is if you go to a place and smell pizza, he smells cheese and tomato sauce and pepperoni. He can differentiate all those. Dogs can actually smell in stereo. He can smell one thing in one nostril and another something in another nostril.”
Since Oct. 7, the Creve Coeur Police Department has had heightened patrols in Jewish community centers.
Lane uses his years of training as an officer to visually assess a situation and allow Frizbi to pick up the scent on the trail.
“We checked this area, and we saw nothing of alert. The best thing people can do beforehand is know that everything is in place; we know that everything is here that’s normally here. So, we can check, though, just to be clear,” Lane said.
“We’ll clear a perimeter. Sometimes it’s a school, and they’re going to let a school out. We’ll check where they’re going to put the kids. We’ll check that area and make sure it’s safe. Then we check the perimeter and start working the interiors.”
Officer Lane credits weekly training with other bomb and arson officers and K9s with St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and two private organizations with helping to keep both two- and four-legged officers prepared and ready.