Ms. Margaros currently supports the Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Protective Security Coordination Division. OBP provides leadership and coordination within DHS on explosive threats and countermeasures, while working with Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial (FSLTT) government partners to enhance and integrate national capabilities to combat explosive attacks. As the Unit Chief for the National Counter-improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Capabilities Analysis Database (NCCAD), Ms. Margaros oversees the assessment tool that provides capabilities analyses of bomb squads, explosives detection canine teams, dive teams, and special weapons and tactics teams throughout the United States. In this role, she coordinates with FSLTT partners providing readiness information for pre-planning, steady-state, and threat-initiated C-IED decision support. This effort determines current operational capabilities, identifies specific training and equipment gaps, and provides recommendations for capability enhancements. It assists FSLTT resource providers in developing justifications that support State homeland security strategies. Ms. Margaros also represents OBP and DHS priorities and efforts by participating in various C-IED working groups and stakeholder associations and providing subject matter expertise. Ms. Margaros, a legacy employee of over fifteen years, has served DHS since the September 11th terror attacks, beginning at the Transportation Security Administration and then working at DHS headquarters-level for over seven years. Her efforts include managing multi-agency working groups for conducting economic impact analyses, participating in public-private sector partnerships, coordinating pilot projects for the transportation sector, as well as providing operational support during natural and man-made incidents. In addition, Ms. Margaros served in the US Air Force prior to September 11th.

Class: Counter IED Capabilities NCCAD: What’s in it for me? and Office for Bombing Prevention: 101

Ms. Margaros will present the offerings of the Office for Bombing Prevention, the various C-IED training courses, the Multi-Jurisdictional IED Security Planning Program (MJIEDSP) and the National Counter-IED Capabilities Analysis Database (NCCAD), what they are, what they do, and how they can help your agency.

Scott Klappenback has been with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in southern California for more than 30 years where he, as a Designated Level 1 Reserve Lieutenant, has worked patrol assignments his entire tenure. For the past 17 years he has been a K-9 handler with the last 9 years being assigned to the Special Investigations Bureau’s Highway Interdiction Team. During this time he has worked two certified narcotic detection dogs in patrol. Scott’s assignment also includes appointment as a Title 19 Task Force Officer for the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, he has testified as an expert witness on transportation and sales of narcotics. In 2017, he was the recipient of the National Sheriff’s Association “Reserve Deputy of the Year” award. Scott currently is an instructor for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s POST certified Basic Narcotics Investigation Course and teaches Vehicle Hidden Compartments and K-9 usage. He has also taught classes on K-9 training and usage for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS), Maryland National Capital Park Police, San Diego Police Department and U.S. Border Patrol. In addition, he has instructed classes on K-9 training and usage for the membership of the Orange County Police Canine Association (OCPCA), annual K9 Handler Instruction & Training Seminar (HITS), California Narcotic Officer’s Association (CNOA) annual Training Institute, California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA) conference, National Criminal Enforcement Association’s (NCEA) annual National Interdiction Conference, Pacific North West Police K9 (PNWK9) annual conference and for a POST certified basic police K-9 handler’s school. Scott is a member and past Board member of the Orange County Police Canine Association (OCPCA).

When not working for the Sheriff’s department, Scott works under contract for the United States Navy Marine Mammal Program and is an instructor for the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Handlers Animal Training Certification Course based in San Diego. He has been in the animal training profession for more than 35 years. He is past president of the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA) which represents more than 2,000 professional animal trainers worldwide. Scott obtained his B.A. degree in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine.

Class: Protecting our Profession

The law enforcement community has been under extreme scrutiny the past several years and so has the marine mammal training profession for even longer. The animal rights movement produced the movie “Blackfish” that has changed the marine mammal animal training profession forever. And the law enforcement working dog profession is not immune from this type of scrutiny and attacks. As a K9 handler in today’s climate it is imperative the basic principles of animal training are understood by the handler. This understanding will assist in avoiding court challenges by defense experts, poor public perceptions on how our K9s are treated and more importantly improve your K9’s performance. Scott will review basics of animal learning and share his concerns regarding how law enforcement can collectively best avoid being victim of the next “Blackfish effect”.

Cory Nordin
National Industry Manager – Working Dog – Eukanuba/Royal Canin

Cory has spent the last 15 years working in the zoo industry managing large animal programs, teaching courses on animal training, and working with nutritionists on a daily basis to achieve peak health and body condition on the animals in his charge. Cory has an extensive background in the animal health, husbandry, training, and nutrition. He has worked with thousands of large and small animals around the world as a consultant to their animal management needs.

As the National Industry Manager for the Eukanuba/Royal Canin, Cory focuses on the Canine nutrition needs specific to the working dog performance athletes. He consults with individuals, law enforcement departments, government agencies, search and rescue teams and other organizations to provide optimum results from a nutritional aspect for their canine partners working in the field. Current duties also include field work with the Royal Canin/Eukanuba Pet Health Nutrition Center out of Ohio on new product development specific to working and other performance dogs.


Class: Fueling Performance: Proper Nutrition to Enhance Your K9’s Working Ability

What are the underlying nutrition and health issues that can help or hurt your dog’s performance in the field as well as shorten it’s career?  What needs to be in a bag of food for top performance?  Protein, fats and carbs, facts and myths.  Working dog health issues and what the handler can do for them.

Includes a Q&A session with Rick Kessler, DVM where you can get answers to your specific questions or issues regarding your canine. 

Joe Smith has been in law enforcement since 2005, working in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  During the last eleven of those years, Joe has been a dual purpose handler for his department, responsible for training the K9’s for his department, and assigned to the SWAT team with numerous deployments under his belt.  Joe is also the owner of Von Klein Stein Working Dogs (VKSWD) in central Arkansas.

Class: Police K-9: Taking Our Industry Back

Joe will invite, yet steer an open forum discussion on the use of the police K9 as related his training and experience.  Topics he will cover in class will include, but not limited to:  Theory versus real word experience and deployments, the importance of growing the K9 in his work environment versus training locations, bite equipment, who do we rely on as industry experts, do we or should we refer to industry experts for problem solving, and the importance of in-house an reliability test.

Brian Gagye served in the United States Marine Corps as a Scout Sniper.

After his time in the Marines, he worked for a sheriff’s department in Michigan until he was injured in the line of duty and later worked for a specialized security company.

Brian has been training dogs for over 20 years and specializes in dog psychology. He has taught his dog psychology and problem solving seminars for police officers and civilians nationwide.

Brian is currently finishing his degree in psychology to become a psychologist. He believes it is not just understanding dogs, it is also understanding how we perceive information. That information is translated into plans of action which could equal success or destruction for K-9 teams.

Brian is the CEO of Blue Warrior Tactics.

Class: The Decoy Connection

In this class you will learn the psychological aspects of decoying. We all know that the trainer in bite work is primarily the decoy. A good decoy can take a dog to the next level. Unfortunately, a bad decoy can take a dog backwards. In this class we will discuss things to look out for while decoying, problem solving, uncontrollable dogs, redirected aggression and more.


Cheryl F. Nelson grew up in Colorado has been a practicing veterinarian since 1980.  Immediately after graduation from Colorado State University Veterinary School she practiced in in Arizona and Colorado as a resident veterinarian. Since 1983 she has been owner of Nelson Reproductive Services working throughout the US with veterinary licenses in multiple states. She has been a speaker at the Western Veterinary Conference, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the International Embryo Technology Society.  She is a member of Louisville Metro Police Department Hazardous Incident Response Team, Bluegrass Emergency Response Team and Kentucky Technical Large Animal Rescue.   She has been a Hazardous Materials Technician since 2010 and has trained at the Center for Domestic Preparedness, the University of Florida, Purdue University, and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.  She has taught K9 TCCC/TECC and K9 decontamination since 2014.

CLASS: K-9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC)

Trauma is a common cause of death in working dogs across all age groups, and includes injuries such as blunt force impact, penetrating wounds, crushing injury or acceleration-deceleration injury. The three leading causes of death for police operational canines are being stuck by a vehicle, heat stroke and penetrating ballistic trauma.

After attending this presentation, attendees will understand the role of the canine handler in providing canine tactical emergency care. This course is designed to present veterinary knowledge and advanced first aid/trauma care techniques to people who may not have a medical background.   Attendees will understand the concept of MARCH (modified as M3ARCH2 for K9 TECC): Move, Massive blood loss control, Muzzle, Airway, Respiration, Circulation, Hypothermia, and Head); and PAWS: Pain, Antibiotics, Wounds, Splinting. Attendees will learn how to assess the health of the working canine, and K9 handling techniques will be discussed. Mission threat analysis and scene safety and medicine in the hot, warm and cold zone will be covered. Triage tips, Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV/Bloat) and hyperthermia will be covered in depth as well as treatment for falls, fractures, burns and anaphylaxis. Bandaging will be covered for sharp and blunt force trauma and ocular injuries. The minimal and advanced canine individual first aid kit will be presented and discussed.  

This presentation will impact the canine handler community by discussing the important differences in human and canine anatomy and physiology, and which emergency medical interventions can be used to save an injured K9s life in the field. Practical applications will include slides and hands-on use of an advanced, animatronic canine medical simulator to demonstrate hemorrhage control, pulse determination, bandaging techniques, anatomy, handling, tension pneumothorax, and more.


Sgt. Ed Van Buren – Douglas County Sheriff (ret)
Supervisor and Trainer of K-9/ Interdiction Unit
Douglas County Nebraska Sheriff’s Department

Ed is the owner of Code 2 K-9 Services LLC in Omaha, Nebraska and president of Blue Warrior Tactics.

Ed spent over 30 years in Law Enforcement, 18 years as a K-9 Deputy and 11 years as a K-9 Supervisor and Trainer. Ed also spent over five years working undercover in a Narcotics Task Force purchasing illegal drugs and guns from outlaw bikers, gang members, white supremacists and many other characters. The undercover work provided Ed with invaluable experience that would enable him to read, understand and communicate with some of the most dangerous criminals that officers encounter.

These experiences would prove beneficial in the K-9/Interdiction Unit where Ed seized over $7 million in drug related currency and almost one ton of marijuana in one stop alone and thousands of pounds altogether.

Class: Conducting the Stop/Utilizing the K-9 / Locating Concealment

  • Safe, legal and professional traffic stops
  • Communication/Interview techniques
  • How to successfully conduct a visual search of a vehicle
  • Detection of hidden compartments

Pat Nolan developed his approach to training over a thirty-year career training retrievers. For the last ten years he has taught remote directional skills to men and dogs in the SOF community.

Class: Training the Remote Detection K9

Training the off-leash detection canine requires a balance that is difficult to achieve and maintain. The canine must take direction but be free to hunt, must be under control at a distance but obedient to odor.

Pat Nolan’s “Push Pull Training in Drive” is a proven approach to training remote directional and detection skills.

Offering real world application of the scientific principles of operant conditioning.

Topics include:

  • How to harness the power of positive and negative reinforcement
  • How to use “Markers” to speed learning, improve communication and reduce conflict
  • A step by step system to training directional skills
  • How to combine directional control without diminishing detection performance

Including Radio and Camera for non-line of sight detection

Mr. Elie Zussman is an Explosives Chemist at Signature Science, LLC, where he instructs site exploitation of suspect rogue homemade explosives (HMEs) production facilities. He is a subject matter expert in the preparation and properties of HMEs to include small scale sensitivity testing and larger scale detonations. He has experience in explosives detection using colorimetric tests and field portable instruments. Mr. Zussman received his Master of Forensic Sciences (MFS) from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Signature Science, Mr. Zussman was a Visiting Scientist at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit where he helped characterize a novel forensic trace air sampler in support of evidentiary gaps within search and rescue canine investigations.

Class: Interactive Explosives Labs Based on Real World Events

Stay up to date with cutting-edge info related to the most recent explosive incidents. With terrorist bombing attacks increasing worldwide at an alarming rate, we believe it’s important for you to understand the current events and their relation to trends in explosives. We invite you to participate in our Interactive Explosives Labs that will introduce you to multiple explosive lab setups based on real events that have rocked our society globally. Our goal is to bring awareness to the social impact we face regarding terrorists and learn what we can do to help prevent, protect and safeguard our nations against the threats of tomorrow. This high-impact presentation, led by Explosives Chemist Mr. Elie Zussman, is sure to engage all your senses. Take the opportunity to walk the terrain and experience these modern explosives labs.

  • Leave with a deeper understanding of how explosives concepts contribute to a terrorist attack
  • Feel more prepared to confidently identify an explosives lab in your area
  • Become more knowledgeable on training aids and techniques that will help ensure the safety of you and your K-9 partner while in the presence of a potential threat

Tobias Gustavsson is a full time trainer and instructor at SWDI (Scandinavian Working Dog Institute) SWDI´s clients are professional dog teams and instructors at agencies and organizations all over the world. That includes police k9 units, special operation forces, government dog teams for large carnivore management, search and rescue dog teams, customs and prison service. In 2011, together with his colleagues, they published the book ”Tracking Dogs – Scents and Skills” The book has now been sold to dog handlers in more than 30 countries.

Tobias is specialized in tracking and scent detection and have an extensive experience in developing skills in dog teams on all levels. Tobias is also a biologist and run a research project on working dogs together with his colleagues at the Swedish University of agricultural sciences.

Class: Hard Surface Tracking Dogs

This class will focus on hard surface tracking as well as other topics that can affect the tracking training.

We start by talking about the knowledge on tracking dogs in literature and science. What methods are commonly used in tracking training and how have they changed through the years? What can a dog accomplish with its sense of smell and what are their limits?

In addition, we will look at the different parts of the tracking training, both theoretically and with the use of film clips. We will go deeper into the basic exercises for creating expectations and intense nose work on hard surface, surface transitions, turns and indication on articles. Training models and progression plans for the different parts are presented as well as solutions to the most commonly faced issues in tracking training. This class will give you the tools to train a reliable and motivated hard surface tracking dog.