Tallahassee Democrat 6/16/17 – Story by Annie Cheng
In the age-old debate between cats and dogs, it is clear that the Coleys are very much so dog people. Paul and Donna Coley are co-founders of Scent Evidence K9, an organization committed to serving the community through a mixture of services and products.
The Coleys use human odor conserving and tracking technology to efficiently find people who are missing or lost. “Our goal is to get — with these resources — within an hour or two response time in the United States.”
Humans have unique scents, created by the part aqueous and part oily films of gland secretions on the skin. The secretions, combined with other organic material, are left behind on everything people interact with and have surprisingly long staying power.
As a long-time forensic canine specialist with the FBI, Paul Coley is an expert at canine development. “[At the FBI], we trained a lot using pre-collected odor,” he said.
His concept of preemptive scent collection, along with tailored canine training programs, forms the foundation of the company. Paired with Donna Coley’s education in psychology and counseling, they make Scent Evidence’s M77® K9 Trailing Program unique. The program trains handlers on the standards of human scent discrimination for their canine teams.
In one particular case, SEK9 partnered with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office to search for an elderly retiree who wandered out of his home. “They had an alarm that went off, and his wife called the sheriff’s office. They used all the traditional methods,” said Paul Coley. After a couple hours of unsuccessful efforts, Citrus County called on Coley’s team. They found the missing man in five minutes.
SEK9 is also currently partnered with Sumter and Marion County, providing both canine training and scent kits for officers to distribute to foster homes and other at-risk populations. Scent Evidence also offers pre-trained bloodhounds and Labradors available for purchase.
“People think rain washes away scent, but the moisture makes it more potent,” said Donna Coley. She explained how bloodhounds’ sense of smell are dependent on the copious amounts of drool they’re known to produce.
In comparison with traditional police dogs who are trained on ground disturbance, SEK9 dogs focus specifically on human odor detection in all types of topography and climate conditions: rain, asphalt, woods, city sidewalks and every other.
Their main product is the SEK9 Scent Preservation Kit®, which includes a specialized jar, sterile gauze pad, tamper-proof tape, label and specific instructions for use. The DNA collected is more valid, more protected and ultimately more useful in reducing contamination and find time. They are also releasing a pet scent collection kit for serving runaway pets.
Another target demographic is also the elderly population, especially those with dementia. “They are the reason why I do this,” said Paul Coley. The Scent Evidence team highlights that elderly folks with dementia and children on the autistic spectrum are both incredibly vulnerable populations, who are likely to go missing. Their products offer a peace of mind for caretakers and parents.
He said, “Every time one of my teams go out, I want them to bring people home.”
The Scent Evidence K9 office and warehouse is located at 2813 Industrial Plaza Drive
Learn more about Scent Evidence K9 and purchase goods/services at scentevidencek9.com.
Contact Annie Cheng at [email protected].