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Bringing The Lost Home Project Expands K9 Search Services in 2021

Rep. Scott Plakon

The Bringing The Lost Home Project is expanding K9 search services for 5 new Florida law enforcement agencies in 2020-2021. The Bringing The Lost Home Project appropriations bill, sponsored by Florida House Representative, Scott Plakon, was passed by legislators in 2020 and signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The bill doubles the number of services provided to participating agencies to enhance their capabilities to find missing persons with dementia or autism who are at high risk of wandering and going missing.

Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, and The Alzheimer’s Project Executive Director, John Trombetta, partnered to introduce the second round of the bill designed to help law enforcement better serve their high-risk dementia and autism populations by raising missing person awareness, mitigating risk, and improving search performance through the use of scent trailing recognition assessments.

Bringing The Lost Home Project goals are achieved through advanced scent discriminate K9 Unit training, Missing Person Response Protocol training, and an innovative Scent Kit program that helps to create missing person awareness and provides an effective way for families and caregivers to prepare for a wandering event in advance.

Bringing The Lost Home Project Partners Scent Evidence K9 and The Alzheimer's Project
Alzheimer’s Project Executive Director, John Trombetta and Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley

The project provides thousands of Scent Preservation Kits® to families with loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia and autism. The Alzheimer’s Project will identify groups and areas in need of services and will help educate residents about the Scent Kits and Missing Person Awareness for at-risk groups. The Alzheimer’s Project is conducting dementia awareness training for agency responders and includes virtual reality technology. The project also includes Missing Person Response Protocol and Scent Discriminate K9 training for the participating counties which will impact law enforcement response capabilities by increasing search success and decreasing the time and resources needed to find missing persons.

The 2020-2021 Bringing The Lost Home Project is currently being implemented in Lee, St. Johns, Marion, and Franklin County Sheriff’s Offices and the Tallahassee Police Department. The project will enable the 5 agencies to introduce and maintain a proven and effective missing person’s response, location, and community safety program. The project is focused on recovering individuals who have a propensity to wander or elope with a rapid response. Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, is in the process of training the new agencies and the advanced scent discriminate K9 search methods are already yielding lifesaving results. “3 out of the 3 agencies that we’ve trained so far have already had significant finds within a few days of receiving the training,” said Coley.

Bringing The Lost Home Project Training Yields Lifesaving Results For Florida Agencies

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Bloodhound Teams Find Missing Adult with Autism and Confirm Suspect Trail
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Bloodhound, K9 Star, and Dep. Nick Cooper located a missing 85-year-old woman with dementia over the Christmas holidays. K9 Star located the missing woman who had wandered from her home in only 4 minutes using the Scent Evidence K9 training and scent collection methods the team received as part of the Bringing The Lost Home Project. Dep. Cooper has also located a missing adult with autism a few weeks earlier just days after they completed training. SCSO Dep. Melanie Merritt and her brand new bloodhound, K9 Daisy, successfully confirmed an 18-hour aged trail of a suspect during a search conducted on Oct. 8, 2020, in St. Johns County. K9 Daisy met Dep. Merritt only a few weeks before and the new K9 team are already providing results that create a safer community for the people of St. Johns County Florida. K9 Daisy was trained by Scent Evidence K9 and has been making headlines since she was a puppy after being named to honor Rep. Scott Plakon’s wife, Susie, who passed from Alzheimer’s Disease. Read the full article HERE



Tallahassee Police SVU K9 Unit Finds Missing Child
Tallahassee Police SVU K9 Unit

The Tallahassee Police Dept. SVU K9 Unit found a missing 13-year-old teen on Nov. 2, 2020. Scent discriminate Bloodhound, K9 Jon Jon, was just sworn into service with the Tallahassee Police Dept. Special Victims K9 Unit 2 weeks prior to his first life-saving find. K9 Jon Jon trailed over 3 miles before locating the missing teen. Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, stated, “We are grateful for the commitment to public safety demonstrated by the City of Tallahassee Police Dept. Because of their hard work and exemplary K9 trailing skills, another missing child’s life has been saved.” Read the full article HERE

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Bloodhound Team of Sgt. Julio Lock and bloodhound, K9 Maggi, located an endangered 82-year-old man with dementia who had wandered and gone missing in Ft. Myers Beach while they were participating in their Bringing The Lost Home Project training. Coley stated, “I want to thank Sheriff Carmine Marceno and the LCSO for their commitment to creating a safer community for those they protect and serve. The resources provided by the Bringing The Lost Home Project has already helped save a life and the training week wasn’t even over yet! Thanks to Gov. DeSantis and Rep. Plakon for their support of these life-saving K9 search resources.”

Marion and Franklin County Sheriff’s Offices are scheduled to receive their training in the next few weeks.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Bringing The Lost Home Project – Using Scent To Protect People At Risk of Wandering

Florida has the second-largest Alzheimer’s Disease population in the U.S. with over 580,000 residents living with the disease. That number is projected to climb to 720,000 by 2025. Studies show that 60% or 3 of every 5 persons with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia will wander and go missing. The numbers are almost as high for children with autism. The American Pediatric Association states that 50% of those with children with autism will wander/elope and go missing at least once before age 17.

Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley has made it his company’s mission to not only improve missing person response capabilities for communities but to protect individuals before they go missing. Coley created The Scent Preservation Kit® or “Scent Kit” to provide K9 responders with a pre-collected uncontaminated scent article before the search begins. Having a Scent Kit prepared gives K9 responders the ability to begin searching right away and increases the accuracy of locating a missing or wandering person.

Bringing The Lost Home Project Scent Kits
Bringing The Lost Home Scent Kits

Participating agencies have already received their first deliveries of the Scent Preservation Kits for distribution. The kits are easy to use and only take a few minutes to complete. A person simply wipes the included gauze pad 10 times under their arm and places the pad in a specially-treated jar. The jar is then sealed, labeled, and stored in a safe place in their home or adult care facility. If a person has wandered or goes missing, a family member or caregiver can present the kit to responders. This allows responders to begin searching immediately with the best possible scent source. “Typically, the scent is gathered after someone is reported missing from an article of clothing or a personal item. That item is then handled or may have been handled previously by others, contaminating the odor and resulting in a lengthy dismissal process and dramatically decreasing the chance of locating someone who is missing. The Scent Kit eliminates the dismissal process and gives K-9 responders a head start which can save a person’s life,” said Coley. Learn more about Scent Kits HERE

Missing Person Response Protocol and K-9 Trailing Training

In addition to increasing missing person awareness for at-risk populations, Bringing The Lost Home Project also includes training to improve agency missing person search response and performance and K-9 Unit trailing capabilities for the participating Sheriff’s Offices.  Coley, a former FBI Forensic Canine Operations Specialist, will conduct his Missing Person Response Protocol and Human Scent Discriminate K9 Training for each agency. Coley’s Missing Person Response Protocol is producing successful results for law enforcement agencies across the country and is endorsed by Florida State University Emergency Management and Homeland Security Department. The Missing Person Response Protocol and Scent Discriminate Training played a significant role in the recent successful search and recovery deployments by the Tallahassee Police Dept., Lee County, and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Offices.

Coley has developed an effective system of standardized scent discriminate trailing techniques and scent collection methods that are producing higher success rates than traditional tracking practices. “We are seeing 90% confirmed trail results using our program. It’s making a major difference in creating safer communities and saving lives,” said Coley. Learn more about Scent Discriminate K9 Training HERE

Scent Kit Programs

Lee, St. Johns, Marion, Franklin County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Tallahassee Police Dept. have already begun to roll out their new Scent Kit programs and will be launching awareness campaigns in their community in the coming weeks.

For more information on Scent Kits and how you can protect your loved ones before they get lost or go missing visit thescentkit.com 

Learn more about The Alzheimer’s Project HERE.

Learn more about Autism and Wandering HERE.

©2024 The Scent Preservation Kit® and all included instructions/checklist materials are registered properties of Scent Evidence K9, LLC