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Remembering Retired Explosives Detection K-9 Bracken

Retired Explsoives Detection K-9 Bracken

Today, we gathered for a Memorial Service to remember Retired Explosives Detection K-9 Bracken, who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on January 16, 2024. K-9 Bracken served the University of Maryland community from 2012 to 2021, and once retired, she spent her days with Sgt. McCann and his family.

You will always be our good girl. Forever and always. We love you and we miss you, Bracken.

K-9 Bracken was a chocolate Labrador who was born in 2010 and was bred to be a working dog. The University of Maryland Police Department acquired Bracken in 2012 from K2 Solutions, Inc. in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL).

Bracken was one of four dogs that UMPD acquired and was quickly trained to be a Person Borne Explosives Detection Dog. Bracken was one of the first PBEDDs to be trained at K2 Solutions, and one of the first to work for a campus police department. This high level of training allowed Bracken and her four-legged partners to detect explosive dangers in a tradition sense, but also explosives that could be worn or carried by a person to help better protect the never-ending threat of terrorism to the world. Bracken was assigned to her handler and UMPD’s lead K-9 Trainer, Sgt. Evan McCann.

Sgt. McCann and Bracken worked diligently to excel at their job, and enjoyed their time together both at work and at home. Bracken loved to work but also loved to chase any animal or creature that moved. She once had an infamous battle with a groundhog in the K-9 training yard in which the two parties had to be separated and counseled on their behavior afterwards. At the end of the day, when not working, Bracken loved to be around people. She loved to get affection from Sgt. McCann and other officers who often came to visit her at work.

Bracken maintained certifications through International Police Work Dog Association (IPWDA), Maryland State Police, and the United States Pentagon Police Department. Bracken worked many hours of assessments throughout the years conducting studies to help both DHS and JHU APL determine some of the best methods to help keep our country safe. Bracken also completed the ATF National Odor Recognition Test on multiple occasions, which tests the dog’s ability to recognize the odor of various explosives and threats.

Bracken worked various high-level events to include help keeping former President Obama safe on two occasions. She also protected other VIPS to include the Dali Lama, and other high ranking political officials. Throughout her career Bracken performed explosives detection sweeps for other universities, Merriweather Post Pavilion, BWI Airport, Royal Farms Arena, and many other places around the state of Maryland.

Some of his biggest accomplishments were protecting the fans during 9 seasons of University of Maryland Football and Basketball games. In addition to working special events, Bracken patrolled the University of Maryland campus daily working to keep the facility and students safe. While off duty Bracken loved to spend time with Sgt McCann and his family. In December 2021, Bracken retired from UMPD and enjoyed the remainder of her life with Sgt. McCann at his residence.  

K-9 Bracken 9.5 years of service to keeping the University of Maryland community safe will never be forgotten. She is the second K-9 to pass away for the University of Maryland Police Department.

We thank her for his service and our thoughts are with Sgt. McCann and his family during this time.

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