Getting Called Out - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2010, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Getting Called Out

My team never seems to get called out until they are sure the people are probably dead. Its kind of disheartening because if we were called out right away, well they probably would be found alive.

How did you get LE to call you out in time for the person to be found alive?

-Melissa
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2010, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Melgrj7 View Post
How did you get LE to call you out in time for the person to be found alive?
First and foremost, you must be able to demonstrate your proficiency, level of training, documentation of training and generally, some form of certification. After that, there are other concerns. Does the group know how work in a potential crime scene. Is or has the group in the past, been media hounds. Does the group know how to follow instructions from the command post.

Secondly, LE must know that the group is available for call outs. There is no drama in having them respond. No "in-fighting" among those responding. The group will come when called, not when it's convienient for them.

Those are just some of the considerations that you/your group must be able to display. Gaining the trust of law enforcement is not all that easy. It can be done, but it's not as easy as showing up and saying: We're SAR and here to help.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2010, 09:19 AM
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It has taken years of trust buidling to get to the level with our local LE and we are always only one new sherriff away from loosing that relationship.

It is an ongoing process.

In addition to your fielding excellently trained and certified teams (everything David says), they need to know

1) You are there for them and will not sidestep them and do your own thing.
2) You will follow a chain of command and do what you are told.
3) You will not seek out the press, (PR things ok, but not about any search, ever -if the press wants to interview you on a search ALWAYS go to the IC or their press liaison - offer to the IC to do a "how search dogs work" peice so the news folks can go home with something, but never say anything about the search itself - some of these folks are very tricky at trying to extract info)
4) If they have dogs, you accept they will work their dogs first. Actually shortly after the person goes missing their dogs probably are the best K9 resource because they do it day in and day out on fresh tracks .....
5). It is not alway about working the dogs, it is about finding the person and if they need you to go door to door to hand out pamphlets then that is what you do and you do happly. We had a find that way a few years ago. The dog was hot on his trail and would have found him, but he wound up on someone's front porch and they recognized the face from the flyers and called in before they got there.
6) Try to train with them if you can, even if it is just you hiding for them. I would not offer to take a bite but I know our LE has bloodhounds that will jump on you but not bite you.
7) Never just show up on their doorstep during a search.

Nancy



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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 06:20 AM
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Note - the preplanning before the call

Missing man back home after search dog finds him | www.gaffneyledger.com | Gaffney Ledger

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 11:03 AM
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A few things to remember:
The Sheriff is also a politician. Have the best PR person in your team meet with him to discuss what your team can do for him. A training session with his guys, your guys, and the press (on the Sheriff's terms) can show that he is giving better service to the area with less expenses. He gets free positive publicity and you get the public asking his guys to call you. You need to sell it as a positive political move as well as good training in case he needs you (don't assume that he will think that he already needs you).

The Sheriff needs to know you will work with him. The training session is part of this and you should see if your team could be worked into his SOPs. Go for a callout to be staged in a standby area at first. If all they need to do to get more help is say "Hey you-" they might use you more. You might not get the trust of the officers at first but as they get to know your team they will open up more.

If you are called out on a search now remember that you are coming out fresh but his guys are tired. If you have support plans, like a refresh area (coffee, chairs, etc) get them set up early so his guys will see your team as being prepared for a full search in ways that most LE agencies don't think about until well after it is needed. Make them see that you have thought things out more than they have.

I would like to be as good as my dogs think I am.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 11:08 AM
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Is LE aware of your team? Have you worked with them before?

Is it possible to set up some sort of demonstration for them?

Volunteer your services (with dog or without) for training, etc.

All great advice.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I will pass them on to our head trainer! I think asking if they will come for a demo of our training is a great idea. They are aware of us, they call us out for cadaver work frequently (often drownings).

-Melissa
Lloyd (big black mix)
Nash (rescue GSD)
and the cats
Snickers (DSH tortie)
Jake (DLH tuxedo blk & Wht)
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 07:05 AM
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I think the evidence/crime scene issue might be a pretty big factor since you say you're mostly being called out for drownings (very little evidence on the surface of water). Obviously there is also a huge need for your work in those circumstances.

Also consider if local PD's/Sherrifs have access to air scent dogs (maybe cadaver dogs is the only area they are lacking? Has anyone actually asked them?).

I also think, based on my interactions with PD's regarding crime scenes, is that they are very sensitive about have "outsiders" of any kind trampling over evidence or possibly creating chain of custody issues. You might want to also ask if you could sit in on an evidence collection/processing class they have for ET's or try to find a course you could take run by a university with a MS in forensics program or by one of the larger forensic organizations (such as your local chapter of International Assn. for ID, International Crime Scene Ivestigators Assn, etc). Obviously, a lot of the training will deal with COLLECTION of evidence which you definitely won't be doing, but it also will deal a lot with being aware of your surroundings a have a keen eye out for anything that might be pertinent evidence.

Do any of the SAR training seminars specifically deal with the preservation of evidence during call outs?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 10:02 PM
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Well every national cadaver certification requires that you have attended a crime scene preservation class put on by law enforcement.....not typically required for live find teams (but it should) but across the board the expectation is that only a class in crime scenes by LE will be acceptable. .......

Nancy



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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 01:23 PM
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It is never easy, and if you find the answers, let the rest of us know. I think a lot of LE has NO IDEA of how search dogs work, and they really don't care. That is also true for the majority of SARs with no dogs too. They'd call out a live find dog for cadaver work, or vice versa, and then say "the dog didn't help us any." I know this is true in my area, and it was confirmed that it is pretty much universal after reading Susannah Charleson's book Scent of the Missing.

Our local SAR group does not have a search dog, but they have a wanna be handler who takes her dog everywhere with her. This does not help those of us who have certified dogs. Her dog does nothing, so the whole team thinks that search dogs do nothing. I tried to join the team, but because my dog was such a threat to making her dog look bad, she slammed the door in my face. ( Shouldn't it be about FINDING people?!)

My next stop was directly with the sheriff's office. I wrote a letter, submitted my resume and certifications and offered to give a demo/brief class on search dogs (which I did). After that, our PD has a K9 unit. I knew one of them, asked to trained with him ( tracking, not protection) and actually floored him with my dogs's abilities. Whenever our PD is called by another agency or with their own need to track a civilian, they call me, as my dog is not trained for criminal apprehension. Our last callout resulted in a hard surface, urban trail and getting the find. (not that getting the find is the most important part, but it sure feels good.)

It takes a lot of perseverance, letter writing, and getting out there and being seen. Good luck

Rio



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