GREENVILLE, S.C. – Sixty five bloodhound teams from across the country in the Upstate this week, training alongside deputies from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
“The sheriff’s office bears the initial response of a lost or missing person,” Lt. Matt Lovelace, with GCSO’s K-9 Unit said.
Such calls have become more frequent in Greenville.
“Every day our office receives a call about a lost or missing person, years ago it would be something that you would hear about once or twice a week if that,” Lovelace added. “The aging population coupled with more people moving into the area, the frequency of missing persons is happening more and more.”
To find someone can take resources that go beyond technology.
“Bloodhounds are trained to scent discriminate which means they can ignore all other scents in the environment and lock in one scent to their nose and track just that missing person or criminal suspects scent,” Chris Nichols, director of training with the National Police Bloodhound Association said.
The GCSO uses three bloodhounds.
“We spent years trying to build and develop the most professional K-9 unit we can and a lot of times (that means) seeking expert training from outside entities, outside resources.”
More than 60 dogs and their handlers are in Greenville to do just that.
“This is the National Police Bloodhound Association; this is one of our three seminars that we host every year throughout the country,” Nichols said. “Blood hounds are booming in law enforcement because they’re very useful and they trail critical missing people.”
By putting these dogs and their handlers to the test has the ability to save lives.
“Events like this and training like this helps develop both the skills of the dog and the handler so they can think outside the box if that’s needed and at the end of the day, we have a well-prepared team to go out and answer the mission.”
This week’s training entails 32 hours of field work along with 8 hours of training in the classroom which focuses specifically on the scent discriminating law enforcement Bloodhound.
Nichols added that the organization plans to host next year’s training in Greenville as well.