Omaha officials using special K-9 training for search and rescue attempts

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 12:35 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Police dogs get extensive training when it comes to sniffing out illegal drugs or dirty money from bad guys, but K-9s are also called in for searches regarding someone who is seriously hurt or even lost.

Usually K-9 units are tracking a suspect who ran and hid from law enforcement but Deputy Jackie Stephens plays a different role.

“Hurt or lost,” said Dep. Stephens, “Not your typical bad guy you would think.”

The three-day canine search training featured a dozen K-9 teams from Nebraska and Iowa.

Officials used a realistic search setting by starting with the scent from a personal item belonging to the deputy and acting as if it was a missing person. The officers used a wooded area near Lake Cunningham with thick brush to train a K-9 name Duke.

“Watching, I could see him working and he was following where I was going,” said Dep. Stephens.

The K-9 then alerted his handler and search team that the person, or thing, they’re looking for is nearby. The training has also been utilized by the Altoona Iowa K-9 units as well.

“This training as a whole really taught me how to read my dog better to know when he’s in and out of odor, to know when he’s on that trail,” said Altoona Police Officer Cameron Hale.

The training is offered by Omaha’s Code 2 K-9 services which helps law enforcement agencies find and train police dogs. Out of twenty-five training sessions a year, this is the first on track for lost or injured people.

“This will take a dog, in a matter of weeks, that will track miles,” said Code 2 K-9′s Ed Van Buren, “Not just yards, but miles.”

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