The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) suffered the loss of the first-ever passenger screening canine in the state of Texas. Evan, a black Labrador retriever, who retired in August 2017, passed away earlier this month. He was 10 years old.
Evan was born on May 6, 2010, and trained at Auburn University in Alabama to be an explosive detection canine. Since then, TSA transitioned Passenger Screening Canine Team training to the Canine Training Center at Joint Base Lackland in in San Antonio, Texas. Evan first met his handler, Richard “Rick” Nicolai, in February 2012. After training together for three months,
Evan and Nicoli returned to Austin where they started their service as the first passenger screening canine team at the airport.
Their service was not limited to AUS. Evan and Nicolai traveled all over the U.S., supporting events ranging from the Papal visits in El Paso, Texas, and Washington, D.C., to jazz festivals and Super Bowl games in New Orleans. They even provided added security in Dallas for an NCAA college basketball title game.
Evan was featured in an Austin local news story about airport security and in a story about his work supporting the Papal visit to the nation’s capital.
“It wasn’t always cameras and events. Initially, Evan didn’t like pine cones, birds or other dogs. He was an exceptional canine both at work and off-duty. He worked hard and played with vigor, especially when it came to playing fetch or Frisbee toss. Evan retired in August 2017, due to medical complications and was adopted by Nicolai until Evan passed away on August 6. During his retirement, Evan enjoyed naps on the couch, rolling around in the grass and playing with his dog friend Jaxon. Evan served with distinction and will be missed,” said Rick Nicolai.
Homeland Security Today sends condolences to Rick and all who knew Evan, and we thank this fine, hardworking canine for his long service.