I track quite a few missing / endangered persons each month. I am called out to track missing Alzheimer's / Dementia patients and autistic children that wander off. I respond to these calls while working my normal shift or get called out at all hours of the night to go and track missing persons.
I have had many successful tracks of missing alzheimer's, endangered, suicidal subjects or autistic children. The longest distance was over a mile and was predominately hard surface through neighborhoods and into the woods. The longest search was three hours for a missing woman with early on set dementia. 3 hours of tracking / trailing through a swamp, which turned into an area search, because I was determined to find this lady and wouldn't give up. She was missing for two hours before I was called out to search. It took nearly an hour to walk her 3/4 mile out of the swamp because of the tough conditions.
All of our dogs are "find and bite" as our primary objective is tracking felony suspects. Boomer tracked an armed robbery suspect Saturday night, directly to his car. He then alerted to the car for narcotics. A subsequent search of the vehicle based on Boomer's narcotics alert, led to us recovering Marijuana, two guns, the clothing worn in the robbery, the cash stolen from Papa John's and other drug paraphernalia. The subjects were ID'd in 2 other robberies, a 7-11 and a Church. Saturday was a good night, two apprehensions and 15 felony charges between the two suspects, based on Boomer's work.
When searching for an endangered person, I keep the dog close. I watch the dog and focus on the "proximity alerts." Obviously, tracking a missing person requires different tactics than tracking a violent felon. We use our Patrol Dogs for both, we just modify our handling techniques.
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