The nose knows with a little human help

Louisa K-9 officer travels overseas to train fellow law enforcement teams

Louisa County Sheriff’s K-9 officer Lt. Patrick Sheridan shares a few minutes with one of the bloodhounds he helped train in search and rescue. Sheridan spent two weeks in Italy and Switzerland training handlers and their bloodhounds.  Submitted photo

Louisa County Sheriff’s K-9 officer Lt. Patrick Sheridan shares a few minutes with one of the bloodhounds he helped train in search and rescue. Sheridan spent two weeks in Italy and Switzerland training handlers and their bloodhounds. Submitted photo

It’s amazing that one rural sheriff’s department can be instrumental in helping form new K-9 units and train handlers from all around the world, but that is exactly what Louisa County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Patrick Sheridan and Detective Stuart “Buck” Garner are doing.

In October, Sheridan, along with fellow K-9 instructors Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dan Senger and Richmond City Police Department K-9 officer A. J. Jackson, attended and taught at the National Bloodhound Association of Switzerland and Alpines Search and Rescue Organization seminars.

During their first week, Sheridan and his fellow American instructors trained with the Italian Military K-9 officers, as well as the Italian Alpine Search and Rescue K-9 units in Baveno, Italy.

“They started a year ago with the program,” Sheridan said. “Myself and other instructors worked with them a year ago, so they have been coming through the process of training. They are now search ready.”

“That’s pretty special if you think about the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office playing a role in the Italian military starting their own military police canine unit,” Sheridan said. “I’m pretty proud of that.”

The instructors taught the attending bloodhound handlers in large and small villages around the lake area, as well as in the mountainous areas. The mountains are predominantly areas where the Alpine Search and Rescue will work with their dogs.

Sheridan and the others ran scenarios that the handlers would use for missing people and a vehicle bailout.

“We exposed them to different techniques and exercises that they don’t have,” Sheridan said.

The second week of the seminar was in Lausanne, Switzerland, hosted by the Lausanne Police Department, where Sheridan and the other instructors worked with handlers from Germany, Switzerland, France and Africa.

“I was very impressed how competent and knowledgeable he was and how much talent he showed when working with people and their hounds,” Marlene Zahner, president of the Bloodhound Association of Switzerland said of Sheridan.  “I also liked his huge experience working cases with his bloodhound for the Louisa County Sheriff’s Department. It was then that I decided to ask him to teach at my two weeks man-trailing seminars in Europe.”

One thrill for Sheridan was working with the bloodhounds and their handlers from Africa.

“It’s the first time they have ever established a bloodhound program and we started working with them last year,” Sheridan said. “They are in the process of learning.”

To read the entire story, see the Dec. 12 edition of The Central Virginian.

By tcvnews
Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 9:00 am