URI Police add bomb detection expert to ranks

Sergeant Erica Viera with Figaro, explosive-sniffing dog

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – The newest member of the University of Rhode Island Police Department is just 70 pounds and 20 months old.

Officer Figaro is the department’s first explosive-detecting dog.

Figaro has been on the job for about month after completing six weeks of training with the Connecticut State Police and URI police officer Erica Vieira.

The black labrador retriever came from the Guiding Eyes Program, where he was trained for a year and a half.

“The puppy raiser there did a great job, but Figaro was a little too rambunctious to be a seeing eye dog,” said Vieira.

URI is one of only three universities or colleges in New England with a trained canine on the force that can detect bombs and bomb residue.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Yale University are the others.