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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Question about police tracking

I seem to have read that the police k9s will sometimes come out and help to locate wandering alzheimer's patients or other lost folks who aren't bad guys. Do they use the same dogs to track down this type of person as to track a bad guy trying to elude them?

If so, how does the dog know to act differently if he finds the person ahead of his handler?

I would think if someone was lost in a wildnerness area they would call SAR, not the police k9s, but I thought I had read that the actual police k9s sometimes help find lost people and was just wondering about it
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 08:31 AM
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I would say the majority of missing persons are rapidly resolved by police both with and without k9s. Their tracking dogs are on lead and they can control before they get to the person. Not all police tracking dogs bite. Down here a lot of the bloohounds don't bite folks and are often used.

They have dogs loaded and ready to go at all times unlike SAR who may need to wrap things up at work, go home, get changed, get the dog etc.....Early in the incident is important for SAR but having LE as first line makes a lot of sense.

A primary difference is LE K9s typically train on fresher tracks than SAR trailing dogs so as the time goes on the SAR dog is often a better resource for figuring out a direction of travel to help direct the air scent dogs and ground searchers.

Nancy



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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 10:45 PM
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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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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:05 PM
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The state police train their K9's around my area...different places every Thursday I see them somewhere. Usually 6 or more teams get together at the fire station before they disperse to train.
I would love to volunteer to be a 'victim' but my schedule doesn't allow it and approaching them would be odd. They were in my back woods a month ago, and dogs track other handlers...so I think they do need different people to "track".

If I were a victim, I'd be carrying a very nice tug toy/ball...lol

From what I know, we don't have an active SAR team within an hours drive.

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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:09 PM
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It is nice to hear that LE is training for trailing /tracking.. It isn't the discipline that most like due to the running and logistics in setting trails etc...

Great job Slamdunc!!!!!

I find it interesting how dome areas are all about the trailing /tracking and other areas (like a county near me) aren't at all... It, to me, is an important discipline and one that if neglected severely hampers the success a department can have..
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hineni7 View Post
It is nice to hear that LE is training for trailing /tracking.. It isn't the discipline that most like due to the running and logistics in setting trails etc...

Great job Slamdunc!!!!!

I find it interesting how dome areas are all about the trailing /tracking and other areas (like a county near me) aren't at all... It, to me, is an important discipline and one that if neglected severely hampers the success a department can have..
Thanks!

I am running a patrol school now with 2 green dogs and 1 green handler. Tracking / trailing is a large component of my Patrol School. Tracking / Trailing is our bread and butter. You can't catch people if you can't trail them.

We do hard surface scent discrimination trailing training. We are in our second week of the school. All of our tracking / trailing training so far has been in Walmart parking lots or Mall parking lots. Traffic, and folks walking across the track creates a realistic environment for the dogs. Tracking / Trailing (we do both) on grass or vegetated surfaces is easy. I do not progress to grass or woods until the dog can follow a track for at least a 1/2 mile on asphalt. Then going to grass is super easy for the dogs. We knock out the hard surfaces first and lay a foundation in busy streets and parking lots.

I know that some day I am going to wander off and I want these new guys to track well, so they can find me.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:48 PM
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Hineni7,
You have to keep in mind all the tasks that a Patrol Dog must do and tracking is just one of them.

Our Patrol dogs do:

Building searches
Obedience
Agility
Article / Evidence searches (mostly for other cops keys or cell phones lost in the woods.)
Aggression work and control
Area Searches
Apprehension work
Vehicle takedowns
Officer Safety
Tracking / Trailing

Our Narcotics dogs do:
trained in Marijuana, Meth, Heroin, Ecstasy, Cocaine and Crack Cocaine.
Search vehicles, buildings, luggage, lockers and boats and ships.

Our Swat dogs:
Perform Covert searches and guided searches of high risk warrants and high risk subjects.
Cover Perimeter and are exposed to Flash Bangs, gas and the LRAD
specially picked to search confined spaces like crawl spaces and attics.

Boomer is a Dual Purpose Patrol / narcotics and SWAT dog. He does all of the above and then some. He waves to kids at demos while wearing sunglasses, opens the car door (a very bad trick) and has entertained thousands of people.

It is hard to be proficient in everything we do, but tracking is super important. If you can't find em; you can't catch em.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 05:59 AM
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Whether or not LE dogs are trained scent discriminating seems to very by department from what I have been seen.

I know one department who said point blank - GSDs cannot discriminate, only Bloodhounds can. Even after they tested a GSD who flawlessly worked a very complex urban track with contamination. This was a friend's dog (she eventually became LE for another department) and they set up the problem to mess up the dog but it did not.

Do you also worked aged tracks? How tight are you on trailing when it comes to allowable distance from the footfall track? We have had great arguments on that one with one group allowing fringe scenting the other wanting the dogs truer to the track.

Nancy



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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slamdunc View Post
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.
Thanks Slamdunc. Amazing work that you & your dogs do.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 07:31 AM
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Nancy,
We do more "trailing" than tracking with our K-9's. There is no doubt that a good single purpose Bloodhound with an experienced handler can trail better than a dual purpose dog. Those dogs are built for it. I don't think that a GSD can't do an excellent job, it is just training time allocated to tracking vs other disciplines.

If all I did was track with Boomer he would be an outstanding tracking dog.

We allow our dog to trail and go where ever the scent takes them. As you know, many factors affect the scent or trail, wind, rain, temperature, terrain, time of day, humidity, etc. The rafts are often carried off the actual track and our dogs are allowed to cast and work the scent cone as the dog sees fit. He has the nose and the super senses. I simply follow the "compass." Many of our dogs will short cut a track and may be a good distance off the actual track, but hot on the odor and working. Our dogs can fringe and we will follow them as long as they are working the odor.

The oldest track that I have run is 8 hours, in a torrential downpour. It rained about 2" that day and poured for most of the track. It was a burglary where the suspects fled out the back door of an apartment. I figured it was a zero chance of tracing anything. But, I felt really bad for the victim and just wanted to try everything. The track was about 2/3's of a mile through a heavily populated apartment complex. Boomer tracked to the building the suspect lived, the track ended there. I checked the next 4 buildings on that street with a negative indication. Through some additional work I was able to determine that the suspect lived in a apartment on the 2nd floor. Normally, for criminal tracks I don't do aged tracks. Everyone has a cell phone and most suspects that do run from an unplanned event "phone a friend" and get picked up. Even in our rural areas.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

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