Law enforcement agencies throughout the country train in North Florida for annual Bloodhound Scent Tracking Seminar

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 4:46 PM EDT
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HAVANA, Fla. (WCTV) - Law enforcement agencies from 28 agencies throughout six states are in North Florida for the 15th annual Bloodhound Scent Tracking Seminar.

“To get training they wouldn’t normally get any other place,” said Florida Public Safety Institute Executive Director, Steve Outlaw. “In fact, we have teams here who have dogs less than a year old, so this is their first exposure to training.”

The seminar helps with situations like searching for a suspect, finding an elderly person, or rescuing missing children. It also uses the help of several search and rescue volunteers. The volunteers donate their time and resources to work as subjects for the bloodhound dogs to track their scents.

Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy, Shanna Alley, is training with her 10-month old bloodhound. “I have a daughter of my own, so it hits close to home especially when children go missing,” said Alley. She said she is thankful to help find loved ones or bring closure to families.

The seminar brought together agencies from Minnesota, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. K-9 handlers are using the 1,500 acres at the Florida Public Safety Institute for much of the training.

“We have wildlife here,” said Outlaw. “We have reptiles here, and so they’ve got to be able to stay on that track and discriminate what they are tracking, and not get distracted by other scents.”

The training lasts through Sept. 16 and agencies will train during the day and at night to mimic real-world scenarios. “Whether it’s someone fleeing from a vehicle or someone hiding in trees,” said Alley.