Kingsport K-9s get help with bomb sniffing

Hank Hayes • Sep 25, 2017 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT — Russ Hubbard has gone to the dogs.

The Kingsport Police Department (KPD) and its K-9 Unit was recently contacted by Hubbard, a local entrepreneur and small business owner, with a very generous offer.

Hubbard, president and founder of Per Vivo Labs, donated a recently developed unique dog training aid to the KPD K-9 Unit.

Hubbard handed over two Odor Trace Mixed Odor Delivery Devices (MODD) used in training bomb-sniffing dogs “as a gesture of thanks,” according to a KPD news release.

The MODD was initially designed to mix the various odors of modern homemade improvised explosives for bomb detection K-9 training purposes without actually mixing the chemical components themselves. Keeping the chemical components physically separate and combining only the odors makes for a much safer training aid that is much less volatile and therefore much less prone to tragedy that could occur from an unintended detonation of an explosive training aid, the KPD release noted. 

Hubbard, a Kingsport native and Army veteran, has been developing products for the military.

“The Odor Trace Mixed Odor Delivery Device project has reached commercialization,” he said in an email. “The initial production run is complete and assembled. The Odor Trace MODD will be available for commercial purchase on Oct. 1. Two other local businesses have been instrumental in development and production. Partner support from Short Fuse Engineering located in Church Hill and Master Tool and Die of Kingsport have allowed Per Vivo Labs to quickly move from prototype to production rapidly.”

The MODD is expected to sell in the neighborhood of $500.

KPD and Sergeant Kevin Hite in particular have been willing to share practical and technical experience allowing Per Vivo Labs to adjust functional design characteristics to best serve the requirements of explosive detection professionals and their K-9 assets, the release said.

“Kevin and his team provide security that is generally behind the scenes yet vital to the safety of the public,” Hubbard noted. “Sweeping venues and events for explosive devices prior to you and I attending a show or crowded event is an incredibly valuable service.”

As a military veteran, Hubbard knows quite well the results of such an accident. He served in the Army from 2005-2012. In 2010, he was fortunately able to walk away relatively unscathed when a truck he was riding in hit a roadside IED (improvised explosive device). However, shortly after he left the military, the unit he was previously assigned to lost some individuals after an explosive K-9 training aid unexpectedly detonated.

This is not the first product Hubbard has developed that has direct ties to his former military service. Another of his products that goes by the trade name Polar Skin was developed for the treatment of heat stroke and was initially designed for soldiers working in the extreme temperatures of the Middle East. Since its initial success with the military, Polar Skin has also found favor with civilian firefighters, smoke jumpers, law enforcement personnel and athletes.

Hubbard is a graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School and West Virginia University. Per Vivo Labs’ current customer list includes the U.S. Department of Defense, other federal, state, and local government agencies, some private entities and a few foreign governments.

“The Kingsport Police Department would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Mr. Hubbard for his service and for this generous donation that he has made to our K-9 Unit,” the release concluded.

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