Excerpts (quotes) from LAPD background check per LAPD Detective Ralph Morten

James Smith, Computer and Behavioral Scientist, FBI Los Angeles.

Dr. Smith worked closely with Mike Herstik and Dr. Edward Eisensten at the VA Medical Center in WLA to develop the program for a Suicide Bomb detection dog.

Mike Herstik has tremendous capabilities and is a real expert in this field. He really knows his subject when it comes to bomb dogs. I know some other guy on LAPD has taken credit for the use of the WALL to train dogs on explosives, but I can tell you, that is Mike Herstik’s invention. He is a fantastic trainer and knows how to do this scientifically. Most K-9 trainers only have a loose idea on how this should be done, but Mike understands the human body language and behavioral concepts associated with suicide bombers. The key to his success is his understanding of dogs and how they work. We worked on a series of proposals with Mike for DHS to develop concepts for suicide bomb detection dogs. He is not an academic but his level of skill is very high. And he is really a nice guy and easy to work with. I have been involved with these concepts since Mike started doing this and would be glad to assist in any way. You cannot use traditional methods to train these dogs and Mike knows how to do that with his methods. We even discussed the problems of using TATP and other peroxide based explosives for odor training.

Officer Jacqueline Hickey, LAPD Bomb Squad, K-9 Handler and Lead Trainer.

I think Mike is a great trainer. Unlike most police bomb dog trainers, he has taken the time to learn all about explosives. Many of current bomb dog handlers handled people dogs or narcotics dogs and do not understand explosives as it relates to dogs. Mike has the knowledge and training to write the protocol on suicide bomber detection, which deals with dogs working on people moving around in a crowd. He has done really good things with all of our dogs.

Detective Doug Stice, LAPD Bomb Squad and Bomb Detection K-9 Handler.

Mike is a phenomenal trainer with cutting edge ideas. His off-lead dog program and training are outstanding. He knows how to train bomb dogs. I don’t think anyone else could do the suicide dog program as well.

Officer Mike Mears, Riverside PD, K-9 Handler.

Mike Herstik produces really good bomb dogs. I have been a handler for the past 13 years and would definitely recommend him. Mike is an easy guy to work with and has lots of experience. Some of the experienced handlers were not trained the way he does things and get frustrated by it. You have to kind of forget what you already know to learn some innovative training methods. His dogs are impressive especially the off-lead dogs, that is some really great stuff. Mike teaches the dogs the Stare so they stay focused on the explosives and not looking for the reward.