There is Honor in Hiding for the Canine Resource

By John Banuelos

As a hider, you are placed in an obscured and isolated location. A hider comes prepared for the duration of a hide with food, drink and weather appropriate clothing. Endless arrays of distant and familiar sounds, along with not-so-familiar sounds surround you. You acquiesce to the dependency that a dog and a searcher will find you.
 
Night prompts the notion that a hider’s location may truly be a secret place. There is only blackness and silence to keeps a hider company, punctuated by unfamiliar sounds. You hope for the familiar ring of the search dog’s bell.
 
As a hider, you experience what a lost subject would feel without the benefit of food, water or appropriate clothing. Team members Lisa McGraw and Danny Jaramillo have felt the lost subject experience often and sometimes in harsh conditions.
 
The Canine Resource wishes to thank both these members for their repeated contribution to the resource as hiders. Lisa and Danny have come out to hide in the worst of conditions and have endured long durations of isolation to help all six members of the Canine Resource.
 
When you see Lisa and Danny next, ask them about their experiences. Better yet, take the time to hide for our dogs. Gain a taste of what a lost subject feels, plus the exhilaration of being found.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead–The Resource Year in Review

Bicycle Resource
The Bike Resource was involved in number of medical events throughout 2012 and participated in many aspects of team training, including UNO, as part of the Type 2 Academy. Most recently, the Bike Resource participated in team medical events for the Mount Diablo Challenge Bike race and the Lafayette Reservoir Run.

Primary goals for 2013
- Hold a Bike Resource Orientation Academy for new members
- Organize monthly training rides
- Organize optional weekly fitness rides for all members
- Participate in team medical events

 

Canine Resource
The Canine Resource had some significant accomplishments in 2012. They included certifying two trailing-dog teams and recertification of an area and an HRD (human remains detection) dog team. Also, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) policies were revised and the resource added three trailing-dog teams and a new puppy (trailing and firearms) for a currently certified handler.

Primary goals for 2013
- Certify four trailing-dog teams
- Recertify an area-dog team
- Plan for water training, a trailing seminar, and to revise the SOP training manual

 

 

Equestrian Resource
The Equestrians are probably the smallest resource, with four current members. Meeting the rider / horse requirement has been the focus of 2012.  The resource is similar to the canine resource in that each member must practice more with his / her “partner” individually than during monthly trainings.

Primary goals for 2013
- Increase numbers.
- Research and develop ways to have those who do not ride or own horses participate

 

Explorers
The Explorers had a busy 2012 and added 12 new Explorer members to the team; getting them through the Type 3 Academy with six carrying on to Type 2. That took a lot of work with many experienced Explorers acting as coaches and proctors.

The Explorer rafting trip in August was a lot of fun, but also an excellent team-building training. Explorer Capt. Kevin Clark led one of the SAR-o-Rama trainings on patient assessment and this event provided an excellent leadership opportunity for him.

A “treasure chest” geocache hike was a big hit in November. The Explorers had to follow clues via a topographical map, a GPS waypoint, and a compass, among other clues, to lead to a chest full of treasures (movie items and chocolate) hidden at OES.

There were several fun trainings, as well, at the local climbing gym; PR events; and several Explorers went through the EMR class.

Primary goal for 2013
- Take a leadership role in some of the team’s trainings such as SAR-o-Rama

 

Metal Detector Resource
The Metal Detector Resource continues to be a valuable part of the team by assisting local law enforcement units recover evidence at crime scenes. The resource has a strong group of core members and several new Type 3 academy graduates. Many of our searches took place during regular business hours to meet the needs of the requesting agency. Fortunately, enough members were able to take the time mid-week to meet all metal detector callout requests.

During 2012, the resource was asked to locate (or eliminate the possibility of their location through due diligence) weapons and ammunition on several occasions, including an extensive search of a block-long juniper bush in Richmond’s Iron Triangle.

Primary goals for 2013
- Build the capabilities of its current members
- Increase the number of members who are well-trained enough to handle any callouts

 

Mountain Rescue Group (MRG)
The MRG held a successful academy with two new Type 1 members added to the callout roster in 2012. During the year there were also numerous Type 1 searches in a variety of terrain, from the coastal range to the high Sierra. The snow and ice re-accreditation team trained hard for its March 2013 test date.

 

 

Primary goals for 2013
- Pass another recertification effort in snow and ice
- Maintain continued readiness for challenging callouts in difficult Type 1 terrain
- Increase the Type 1 callout roster to 35 by the fall of 2013

 

Tracking Resource
The focus for 2012 was on building new skills so that at a moment’s notice, members could follow a subject’s trail without falter. However, just as importantly it has been about educating the full team on how to protect precious tracks, preserve clues that can aid in the discovery of a lost subject, and to teach a searcher how to raise his/her acuity as a ground-pounder.

Primary goals for 2013
- Continue to be an educational resource focused on teaching track awareness, clue protection, night-vision and thermal-vision tactics, etc.
- Continue to define and refine the resource’s collective tracking techniques so they can be taught to all team searchers
- Spread among the membership – during academies, full-team trainings and the 2013 Tracking Academy – the concepts and importance of tracking. Sign (or spoor) is everywhere – 25 percent of the team understands this; the tracking sergeant wants the other 75 percent

 

USAR Resource
During 2012, the USAR Resource successfully implemented a two-tier training program (one advanced and one basic); had a strong turnout and enthusiasm at all of its training events; added to the state USAR mutual-aid list; and grew its full-team USAR Type 4 readiness through team trainings and the SAR Type 3 Academy.

 

Primary goals for 2013
- Develop the USAR Ops Guide
- Expand USAR’s Type 3 numbers
- Develop strong Type 3 team leaders

 

The Origin of the Bloodhound on the Patch

By Myron Robb and Mike McMillan

The image of a bloodhound forms an important part of the Contra Costa County Search and Rescue Team’s shoulder patch. As Evan Hubbard wrote in the March 2010 issue of the Callout, an early revision to the patch (1979) added the bloodhound. Contra Costa SAR was the first search and rescue team in the state to use bloodhounds. Here’s how that came to be:In 1970, Myron and Judy Robb began raising bloodhounds in Walnut Creek, primarily as show dogs. In 1976, Judy, and friends Bev Mestressat and Lynn Hanson, were invited to give a working bloodhound demonstration to Contra Costa SAR. That demonstration was so effective, it led to the formation of the Sheriff’s Office bloodhound unit and by the end of the 1970s, the SAR team was organized into seven divisions: Bloodhound/Tracking, Communications, Equestrian, 4x4s, Medical, Support and Explorers.

The bloodhound unit’s third callout was for a high-profile case at the Lafayette Reservoir on Nov. 14, 1978, in which a 40-year-old female jogger went missing. Her car was found in the parking lot. Judy Robb and K9 Pita arrived at the search, but were unable to get a proper scent article, so Judy scented Pita off the woman’s car door handle.

After 20 minutes of trailing, the bloodhound led her to the woman’s body about 65 feet off the trail, concealed in heavy underbrush. Their excellent work on this case set the scene for a busy SAR career for Judy, Pita, and members of the CoCoSAR bloodhound unit and in 1982, Judy and Myron were named the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office volunteers of the year for their contributions.

From left to right: Lora Fults with Zack, Cindee Valentin with Annee, Carol McCoy Drolet with Tango, Eloise Anderson with Twist, Chris Boyer with Scout, Jenny Ward with Peaches, Carol Martin with Sammi, Joe Jacques with Hooter, Karen Mingus with Diablo, Ingela Tapper with Einstein, DeAnn McAllan with her dog, Bonnie Brown Cali with Aero, Candice Valentin with Tatum, and Carol O'Neil with Maggie. Kneeling in the center are Jacque Nushi with her dog and Judy Schettler with Callie.

In just a few years, the bloodhounds and their handlers became well known throughout the state. From this basis in bloodhounds, the SAR Canine Resource grew to include a number of breeds. In 1998, the resource included 16 handlers and at least five breeds, but it’s the bloodhound that remains the icon on the team’s patch. 

Myron retired in 1993 and he and Judy moved to a log home in the Ponderosa pine forests near Pioneer, Calif. Judy passed away in July 2010. Myron continues his interests in bloodhounds as second vice president of the American Bloodhound Club and treasurer of the northern chapter of Bloodhounds West. Mike is a member of CoCo SAR and is raising Baskerville, a bloodhound puppy.