At Black Diamond, our Canine Team of handlers and their canine partners undergo months and years of intensive training together to ensure that their canine partner is a proficient, enthusiastic, and effective member of a ground or water search team. Humans emit a continuous stream of scent that can waft through the air on breezes and air currents, allowing a Live Find K9 to detect the presence of a human in their search area. By tracking these scents, the dog can locate the individual from a considerable distance away, aiding in their search efforts. Specially-trained dogs can also detect the decomposition by-products, such as bacteria, odors, and cells, to locate deceased individuals.
We take immense pride in the unwavering dedication of our human and canine team members at Black Diamond.
Two of our K9 Team members and their canine companions were highlighted in a Mecklenberg Electric Cooperative newsletter article.
Live Find Wilderness Air scent K9 teams at Black Diamond are trained to detect undifferentiated human scent in the air during search operations. The dog will track the scent until a person is located, if there is a person in the area. Once the dog has verified the presence of a person, it will run back to its handler and provide a trained behavior indicating that someone has been found. The handler can then follow the dog to the located individual.
It is worth noting that even if a K9 team searches an area and does not locate a person, their efforts still provide valuable information to the search operation by indicating where the person is not located. This approach also adds a layer of thoroughness to the search that is not possible through relying solely on human vision.
Specially trained HRD (Human Remains Detection) dogs have been taught to identify human remains with great accuracy. These canines are instructed to disregard scents from live humans and animals, and only respond to the scent of decomposed human tissue.
HRD dogs are employed in a range of scenarios, including identifying human remains associated with crime scenes, cold missing persons cases, and forensic investigations that involve small scent sources. Additionally, these canines are adept at detecting human remains following natural or man-made disasters.
Within the HRD K9 Teams, there are specialized groups known as Type 1 and Type 2 Water Recovery teams. Type 1 teams are certified to search open water from boats, as well as shorelines, whereas Type 2 teams are limited to shoreline searches only.
Type 1 Water Recovery K9 teams work with their handlers from boats to detect submerged human remains in water. Due to various factors, such as water currents and the slowing of decomposition in water, these teams are trained to locate the general area where the deceased individual may be. Sonar operators and divers use the information provided by the dogs, in combination with data on known currents and the history of the case, to narrow down the search area and locate the individual.
On the other hand, Type 2 Water Recovery K9 teams conduct searches from the shoreline. These dogs are particularly adept at locating victims who may be trapped in submerged trees, rocks, or other areas along the shoreline of bodies of water.
Revised Nov 2023