Pictures of security dogs at AUC have been circulating on social media sparking outrage amongst students. Following the much-shared picture of a gun found in a classroom at AUC and the installation of cameras across the campus, the sudden presence of security dogs was alarming.
Mohamed Ebeid, Head of Security at AUC, said that these dogs are only here for security and not because there is something going on. AUC is a well-protected university; whether it is through cameras uncovering theft or through security guards at every gate; however, “we didn’t have anything related to explosives,” said Ebeid. Hence, the presence of the dogs at AUC is now a new policy that will supposedly continue for an extended time period.
This fast detection of dogs was tested out by the security team at AUC. Ebeid shared a story about a day where they placed a small amount of C-4, an explosive material, in a car. The dog managed to identify the material. This was confirmation that the AUC selected well-trained dogs. “We were very picky to bring the best company for dogs. We saw how they train their dogs and we tested this here,” said Ebeid.
The presence of dogs and cameras are working together to protect the AUC community. Both are needed simultaneously because, “if someone throws a plastic bag; it will be shown who that person is and the dog will come and smell it,” said Ebeid.
After asking him what exactly the university is expecting to find with these security dogs, Ebeid responded, “I am not expecting to find anything, but what if. This is security; what if. I don’t wait for the day to come and then we regret why we didn’t do something like this. This is security in all places.”
Ebeid jokingly said that he received so many questions about these security dogs. However, he insists that the presence of the dogs has nothing to do with the gun. Ebeid said, “we planned for the [detection] dogs a long time ago. It takes a lot of procedures…until we get a very professional company with very good dogs for explosive detection.”
Despite that most people in the AUC community connected the sudden appearance of security dogs with the gun, “the only thing, to be frank, that happened after the gun issue is the increase of security checks when entering the campus. This is the only thing,” confirmed Ebeid. On that note, Ebeid makes a point to thank the students for their cooperation in those security checks, “they were obeying the procedures and I am very thankful.”
There is a permanent dog at gate one; the visitors gate, because there is a constant flow of “strange vehicles that we don’t know,” said Ebeid. Another dog is at gate three; the services gate, where all the trucks, food services, and facilities are. “We don’t know these people, so we need to check their vehicle,” explained Ebeid.
In terms of all the other gates; particularly gate four, this cannot be done because it will cause a major traffic jam in the morning and no one will want to wait. Thus, “we do these checks on ground, in the parking lots, with the presence of dogs” and with the help of the security at the gates in case anything is detected, said Ebeid.
Head of Security addressed a common concern amongst AUC students; that is the increasing presence of cameras that is supposedly decreasing personal freedom. Ebeid explained that this is to protect all students. “I worked in the American embassy for maybe 11 years and I can’t tell you how the security is there. Of course, this is a university, it is something else, but the security is security everywhere.”
Hopeful that the university is at its most secured state and will continue to be that way, “I do not fear anything, but the security must always be ready for anything because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow or after one hour. We need to be ready for anything. I hope inshallah, nothing wrong will happen,” said Ebeid.