Trainers spent four days training handlers and their K-9s in a variety of scenarios across Manatee County. The K-9 units in training are all privately owned, but they are trained to work as search and rescue dogs in the field. Units from across Florida and as far away as North Carolina participated in the three day seminar. Fred Mendiola with Brevard County Sheriff’s Office worked as a trainer and he says the goal was to make the training simulations as realistic as possible.
“Just basically working on different scenarios on locating lost persons; of course with cadavers. We also are doing tracking and trailing for their live finds”, said Mendiola.
A culmination of three days of training lead up to the final test- a real life crime scene simulation. Meghan Wolf with Manatee County Search and Rescue says the training is to prepare both the K-9s and their handler what to expect when they arrive on scene and how to handle the situation. Wolf say this is an ever-evolving field of work which requires continuous training.