DHS Buys Health Devices for Its Canine Employees, but Nothing Comparable for the Human Ones

By David North on February 13, 2019

Don't get me wrong, I love dogs.

I am totally in favor of protecting the service dogs that help the Border Patrol in the field, and sniff luggage in the airports.

But I was bit surprised to see this (somewhat misleading) headline on a Homeland Security press release: "DHS Awards Florida Company $199K to Begin Prototype Test of Canine Wearables".

The image, of course, was of cute sweaters and little blankets for the service dogs.

What the headline should have said was: "DHS Awards Florida Company $199K for Canine Health Devices".

The "wearables" are wrap-around medical devices bearing the initials CHAMP (Canine Health Analytics Monitoring Platform). Each one "continuously records and stores a working dog's real-time, critical health and activity data — such as heart rate, temperature, humidity, GPS coordinates and more." The last item helps locate the dog should it get separated from its human partners.

The modest sum, by government standards, goes to Florida-based HaloLights LLC for field testing the new technology. Hopefully the funding will not be complicated by the battle between the president and the Democrats over border security.

I look at all this from, among other things, one very specific angle.

I, like the canines, wear a U.S. government-funded (Medicare) electronic device that checks my health. It is a pacemaker/defibrillator in my upper chest. Overnight, by my side of the bed, there is another little electronic gadget that reads the implanted device, and every month I get a call from a nurse technician who tells me (so far) "there seems to be no liquid in your lungs."

Now, I probably am playing a somewhat less useful role in immigration control than the canines, but, but like them, I am the recipient of this probably expensive, government-issued gadget — why shouldn't humans in real danger, like working Border Patrol agents, get the same protection as their canines, and this old dog?