MANSFIELD — K9 Ronan’s nose knows.
The police dog, who works with Officer Michael Fitzgerald, recently passed a national odor recognition test conducted by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The test assessed the K9 duo’s ability to locate various explosive odors and distinguish them from other odors meant to distract them.
Ronan’s “meticulous muzzle” can recognize almost 30 different explosive odors, according to police.
Each year, the ATF hosts a series of national canine events where police and military canine teams compete in various activities.
The three-day competition allows participants to showcase their odor detection and teamwork skills while searching out and identifying explosive, accelerent and gun powder-related materials.
The program also serves as an opportunity for local, state, federal and military canine teams to learn new techniques from the nation’s best teams and experts in the field, according to the ATF.
Ronan, a 2 1/2-year-old German shepherd, was certified last year in ordnance detection and he and Fitzgerald placed second in a regional competition in October.
In addition to being able to detect guns and explosives, Ronan is trained to track missing persons and criminal suspects.