Meet the dogs making sure Kroger Field is safe ahead of first-ever concert

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Posted at 11:41 AM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 18:08:24-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — Thousands of fans will pack Kroger Field Saturday night for the long-awaited Chris Stapleton concert. But long before they take their seats, University of Kentucky police K-9 teams will be sniffing to make sure the stadium is safe.

“They can see what we can't. They can smell what we can't,” said K-9 Unit Commander Lt. Ryan Johnson as he introduced us to Junior, one of the department’s three explosive detection dogs, and the most experienced.

But this weekend, K-9s Pip and Kinder will be put to the test for the first time. The dogs and their handlers just completed their initial explosives detection training in North Carolina.


“They have to learn and experience over 30 different explosive odors,” Lt. Johnson explained. “So that's how many different odors we are teaching them to train on.”

Saturday’s sweep of the stadium will be the new K-9s’ first big event as their skills are put to the test. Along with other skills, the highly-trained dogs use their sense of smell to rule out the presence of anything dangerous.

“Most people will say they don't ever see them, but they are there,” Lt. Johnson said. “It's often way before the fans or the audience even comes into the arena.”

The dogs and their handlers start their work early Saturday morning and will remain on scene throughout the concert, which starts at 6 p.m.