Sunday, January 4, 2009

Radar, SAR K9 extraordinaire

This is Radar, sporting his New York State Senate Liberty Award he earned for his work in 9-11 at the recovery detail in Fresh Kills, Staten Island, NY.

Radar was raised and certified in the US, then both Radar and Chip went with me to Israel for a year and a half as I was taking care of my ailing mother. We also participated in a few searches in Israel, one particularly memorable as it was in the Judean Desert, near the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. That search did not have a good outcome as the victim was found deceased, about 10 miles out of that area.

We, Chip Radar and I, then returned to the US and were asked to participate in the mission to Australia with the 1st Special Response Group (1SRG).

That search in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia sure made headlines, especially when the subject was found after having spent forty days in the unforgiving desert! Other than 3 very skilled K9s, 1SRG also had, IMO the best visual mantracker there is in SAR, Joel Hardin. All these special skills in addition to the team's resourcefulness contributed greatly in the desired result.

This is a picture that not very many cas take. We were searching for a suicide victim in the gorge of the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park NY. We were give special permisssion to search the upper part of the river, where no visitors are allowed and had to cross the river not far from the falls in the background, to check a ledge with caves where the body could have been lodged in high waters. I worked both Chip and Radar, together, as I had trained them to work like that. They did well even in the canoe that transported us from place to place. The water was so shallow that we did not have to search it, just get the canoe through. But we stopped and searched areas that had been under water during the winter and early spring.

This picture was taken during Radar's water search certification. Radar was always meticulous in his alerts, precise till he jumped in, only in calm waters though, and the scent sourde was always there, where he indicated!

This was Radar's largest water search, off City Island, NY. There were four victims and despite two dogs giving trained indications the divers never found the bodies on the silty bottom. All four bodies were recovered later on as they re-floated. This search was a first as we used new technologies, search patterns planned on a laptop computer and transfered to GPS, then implemented. Alerts and trained indications were saved as waypoints then later analysed, on location, to see where the next effort should go.