St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office expanding K-9 tracking program

Expansion aims to help locate missing persons

Using K-9s to help find missing people: The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office gave us an inside look at its tracking programs.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – There’s a connection between state Rep. Scott Plakon and Daisy, a 1-year-old bloodhound.

Plakon lost his wife, Susie, to an advanced case of Alzheimer’s in 2018.

Daisy was named in her honor and is taking on a big responsibility.

She’s now part of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office’s plan to expand their K-9 tracking programs.

“It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could be done to help these people and other people that may wander off and then, of course, with crime victims,” Plakon said.

Say for instance a person who has autism or Alzheimer’s and they wander away from home, their scent can be stored in glass jars. That’s where Daisy comes in -- one whiff and she’s off.

Scent Evidence K9 CEO Paul Coley said it cuts down significantly on the time it takes for investigators to start a search in a variety of situations, especially because the scent hasn’t been contaminated.

“The dog has one target odor that they’re able to trail to the target to find that individual,” explained Coley.

St. Johns County is growing, and the sheriff-elect said the Sheriff’s Office anticipates getting more of these calls for service, but it’s ready to embrace any technology that protects the community.

Plakon said this is a step forward for both him and every family in need.

“I can think of few better examples than to be here today with law enforcement and knowing the legacy of Susie through Daisy of the number of people that are going to be helped with Daisy’s relationship with the department of here,” Plakon said.

Representatives from the Alzheimer’s Project said this is also a way to train law enforcement on how to deal with people living with these diseases.

The Sheriff’s Office has 500 kits available for families in the county, and it is actively training deputies on its use. You can call the Sheriff’s Office at 904-824-8304 for information on how to get one.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad