Posted at: 09/12/2012 6:47 PM
Updated at: 09/12/2012 6:50 PM
By: Steph Crock
K-9's Trained To Search the Water
(ABC 6 News) -- We know K-9 units are used all of the time to help out law enforcement and we've seen those dogs go through some impressive training, but you probably haven't seen them do this.
"They love it, yeah they just love to get out and do what they're supposed to be doing," said Steve O'Neil with North Iowa CERT. Loving the challenge, these dogs have already mastered their training on land, but Wednesday they were put to the test off shore.
"These are canines that have been trained for other search purposes and now they're adding a water element to it," said O'Neil.
That's right, these dogs are getting water certified to search for drowning victims. "This is some specialized K-9 training for water rescue and for search for missing people such as a cadaver, “said O'Neil.
How do they recognize the scent? "It’s like with any discipline with the dogs. The drug dogs have to use real drugs to train with, we use real human tissue to train with," said Amanda Rose, the dog handler with the North Iowa CERT.
Handlers use human material provided by the medical examiner and place it along the shores and in the water.
"They're working off the edge of the boat looking for scent coming off of the water," said Rose. Speeding up the search process. "It's another tool or resource for them so we can kind of help narrow down an area if we have an idea where the person possibly is for the dive team to go in and do recoveries," said Rose.
Rather than the more traditional, time consuming effort of dragging the bottom. It’s a new tool to our area, that everyone hopes will never have to be used.
Though sponsored by the North Iowa Community Emergency Response Team, these dogs came from all over. We weren't allowed to film the dogs during the actual test, to avoid distracting them from getting their certification.