Live Oak —
The Live Oak Police Department held a ceremony on Saturday to welcome Junior, a bloodhound, to its staff. Junior, once fully trained, will be able to track suspects and help to locate missing persons by scents and afford the department a faster response time.
“The K-9 unit at Suwannee Correctional Institution does a great job and we have been using their services, but there are times when it could be an hour or more before they can respond,” Sgt. Justin Bates said. “We’re working together with SCI and once Junior is trained, we will work together as a K-9 team. It will be a team effort responding throughout the area.”
Bates said members of the SCI K-9 unit have been helpful in Junior’s training.
“They have assisted me greatly in training Junior,” he said. “They have taught me tricks and how to help him look for things.”
While surfing the Internet, Bates discovered the Jimmy Ryce Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to providing bloodhounds to law enforcement agencies at no cost.
“This breed of a dog usually runs about $1,000,” Bates said. “The donation was a huge help to us because we don’t have the funds to invest in the dog and the equipment needed for him.”
Bates then sent a request to JRF and received a quick response stating the LOPD qualified and would receive a bloodhound.
“It’s been great. Junior was donated to the department and pretty much everything we needed,” Bates said.
Junior is about 13 weeks old and will spend his early months training until he is 10 months to a year old. Bates said Junior will be trained through a process called dissemination. As a result of the training, Junior will be able to trace the path of a person by their scent, which is gathered by skin cell particles.