LEBANON, Ind. - A canine program continues to grow in honor of the community's hero. The Boone County Sheriff's Office unveiled their two new bloodhound dogs and their handlers Wednesday morning.
The dogs are 11-months old and were given to the department by Find-M'Friends, Inc. The organization not only donated the male, Chase, and female, Makya, but also provided the training for the department's two handlers.
The pair of dogs started working in the community in October.
"They are specifically for scent discriminating and man trailing," said Detective Clint Stewart, who is one of the handlers and caretaker of one dog.
The bloodhound has a great sense of smell, which makes them ideal for tracking missing people.
"They can pick out each ingredient in a pizza," Sgt. Ryan Musgrave, the other handler, said. "That’s how sensitive their nose is."
The two men said they were surprised how often their new partners get called in. It's not just missing people the dogs can track, but anyone authorities want to find, such as a suspect in a burglary or theft.
All the dog needs is a scent.
"We had a suicidal female who took a handful of pills and ran off into the woods," Stewart said. "We were able to find her simply off where she touched the door handle of her car."
Chase and Makya are two of only three bloodhounds used in law enforcement in central Indiana, according to the two handlers. They added there are less than ten in the state.
As part of the announcement, the sheriff's office also said it is giving out scent kits to families to help them if a loved one ever goes missing.
The department has purchased 3,000 little boxes with the kits inside. A kit is designed to preserve and store a scent that law enforcement can use.
The kits are free to the public and can be picked up at the Boone County Sheriff's Office between 8-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. They are also available at either Lebanon fire station.
Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said he wants the kits to be made available at every fire department, including volunteer departments, in the county. They're also looking at making them available to an area assisted living center in the community.
The addition of the bloodhound program gives the sheriff's office a total of six canines overall. Expanding the canine program was a goal and dream of former Deputy Jacob Pickett, a canine handler in the department who was killed in the line of duty last year.