Scent Discriminate K9 Training Increases Search Capabilities for 3 Florida Sheriff’s Offices

Scent Discriminate K9 Training began in September for 3 select Florida counties as part of the Bringing The Lost Home Project Bill. Scent Evidence K9 partnered with The Alzheimer’s Project on the bill which was signed by Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, in late June 2019 and was sponsored by Florida House Representative, Scott Plakon. Bay, Seminole, and Sumter County Sheriff’s Offices were selected as recipients of the Scent Discriminate K9 and Missing Person Response Protocol training provided by Scent Evidence K9 as well as Scent Kit® programs for each community that distributes 3000 kits to people with Alzheimer’s Disease and autism who are at risk of wandering.

Human Scent Discriminate K9 Trailing – The Right Tool For The Right Job

As training began for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, received a call 5 minutes into his presentation about the advantages of human scent discriminate trailing and how it differs from traditional K-9 tracking methods. The call came from Capt. Lonnie Bowman from the Liberty County Georgia Sheriff’s Office about a case he was working on. Coley took the call and put Capt. Bowman on speaker for 6 BCSO K-9 handlers to hear. Bowman described how a robbery suspect had abandoned a stolen motorcycle after a high-speed pursuit and was hiding in a Georgia swamp. Liberty County had recently purchased K9 Charlie, a scent discriminate bloodhound, from Scent Evidence K9 and both had been trained by Scent Evidence K9. Capt. Bowman gave K9 Charlie the suspect’s scent and the bloodhound dove off a landing into the swamp and located the suspect partially submerged in the water. Coley stated, “It was the perfect way to demonstrate how the system can work in locating a specific individual and it came from an officer in the field doing his job.”

Human Scent Discriminate Trailing uses a person’s unique odor to locate them and to a properly trained scent discriminate K9, it’s as identifiable as a fingerprint. Traditional tracking uses footfall and ground disturbance to track a person. “Our Scent Discriminate training methods give a K-9 team several advantages such as the ability to search in a variety of weather conditions over longer spans of time,” said Coley.

As the first of the 3 Florida counties to receive training, Bay County presented a few new challenges. The K-9 Unit consisted of 2 Bloodhounds and 5 patrol dogs (Malinois and Shepherds). “Bloodhounds are the Cadillac of Scent Discriminate dogs and are uniquely built for trailing. While I have trained many other breeds in Europe with great results, I was excited to see how the patrol dogs would adapt to the new training,” stated Coley.

Scent Discriminate K9 Training with Bay County Sheriff's Office
Bay County Sheriff’s Office K9 Teams and Sheriff Tommy Ford

The patrol dogs and their handlers were successfully completing scent discriminate trailing exercises after only one day and the usefulness of the training was quickly apparent to the K-9 teams in all 3 Florida counties. The training led the K-9 teams through a vigorous program of trailing exercises and scent collection techniques, including the use of The SEKR, a new scent evidence collection vacuum developed by Scent Evidence K9. Sumter County Sheriff’s Office bloodhounds were completing 20-hour aged trails by Day 2 of the training. “I was impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the teams in all 3 counties. Their drive to learn these new search response techniques and systems will help save the lives of those in their community with Alzheimer’s Disease or Autism who at risk of wandering and going missing,” said Coley.

Saving Lives and Catching Bad Guys

Bay County Sheriff’s Office teams are already seeing results with 2 confirmed finds within hours of participating in the training. Here is a letter Scent Evidence K9 received from the BCSO.

Following the final day of training, Cpl. Ruthven and K9 Chase deployed on their first shift since the scent discriminate training and used the newly acquired tactics to locate a suspect who had fled after a vehicle pursuit. K9 Chase was deployed and Cpl. Ruthven utilized a scent kit and began their search. During the track, they located a pair of shorts worn by the suspect and a short time later K9 Chase indicated that there was a scent pool coming from underneath a shed in the back of a residence. The suspect was found hiding underneath the shed and surrendered without incident.


Additionally, Sgt. Hall and K9 Lycan deployed on their first shift since the training and performed an evidence track after a suspect was located upon his arrival. Using the newly acquired techniques, Sgt Hall swabbed the bicycle the suspect dropped and a shoe he ran out of. They deployed and were able to locate 2 pieces of evidence that were discarded by the suspect over the course of the 400-yard trail.

These are just 2 examples of the exemplary work the dogs have done since receiving this excellent training and proven technique. We thank you very much for the opportunity and the knowledge gained.

The BCSO K9 Team

The scent discriminate K9 training and scent collection methods are also benefitting the Florida communities in other ways. Deputy William Lamb of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office used The SEKR Scent Vacuum to collect scent from explosives used in bomb search training. Deputy Lamb was able to train inside a school campus without having to bring explosives onto the campus.

Sumter County Sheriff’s Office K9 Team


Scent Kit Programs and Missing Person Response Protocol Training

Scent Discriminate K9 Training is one of three integral components contained in the Bringing The Lost Home Bill. The Sheriff’s Offices are implementing Scent Preservation Kit® programs and will receive Missing Person Response Protocol Training.

Seminole, Sumter, and Bay Counties will each distribute 1000 Scent Kits® to people with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and autism who are at high risk of wandering and going missing. Florida has the nation’s second-largest population of people living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Of the 540,000 diagnosed, studies show that 60% or 3 in 5 will wander and go missing. Scent Preservation Kits® allow individuals, families and caregivers to pre-collect the scent of the person and store it before they go missing. Having a Scent Kit® prepared in advance gives responders the ability to begin searching immediately with an uncontaminated scent article. The kits increase the location success of K-9 teams while decreasing the time it takes to find them and bring them home safe. The kits also allow for quick deployment by law enforcement when every minute counts. “Scent Kits save lives and money,” stated Sumter County Lt. Robert Siemer. For more information on obtaining a kit in Sumter, Seminole, and Bay County, visit these websites.

Sumter County Sheriff’s Office  Seminole County Sheriff’s Office  Bay County Sheriff’s Office

You can also contact the Alzheimer’s Project for more information here. The Alzheimer’s Project



Seminole County Sheriff’s Office K9 Team

Seminole County and Sumter County are scheduled for the second phase of Scent Discriminate K9 Training and when completed all 3 counties will receive the Missing Person Response Protocol training developed by Coley and Scent Evidence K9. The protocol is designed to provide communities with a standardized approach to responding to missing person cases that will increase and enhance law enforcement search capabilities. “We are proud to be partnering with Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Sumter County Sheriff William O’Farmer, Jr., and their high performing agencies with the Bringing The Lost Home Project. We fully support their commitment to creating safer communities for the people they protect and serve,” said Coley.

To learn more about the Scent Preservation Kit® and how you can protect your family before they get lost or go missing visit TheScentKit.com

If your agency is interested in starting a Scent Kit program in your area Click Here.