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Greenville Business Magazine

Upstate K-9 Search and Rescue Teams Win Certification

Apr 30, 2018 05:01PM ● By Kathleen Maris

Photo: K-9 Beau, who received certification in cadaver detection.

Three K-9 SAR teams of the South Carolina Search & Rescue Dog Association (SCSARDA), a nonprofit, all-volunteer professional search and rescue team dedicated to finding missing people by using highly trained search dogs, have attained national certifications from the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). NAPWDA specializes in the development, improvement, training and certification of police work dogs and assists in certifying working dog teams on various all-volunteer and other teams.

Michel Galliot with K-9 Shadow and Marion Tisdale with K-9 Maya received certification in SAR area search; Nancy Jocoy with K-9 Beau received certification in cadaver detection.

Handler Galliot with German Shepherd K-9 Shadow and handler Tisdale with German Shepherd mix K-9 Maya passed the search and rescue area search test which includes a dog searching an area while off-leash, finding, and alerting back to handler on a hidden subject. Handler Jocoy with German Shepherd K-9 Beau passed the cadaver detection certification test, which included searches for human remains in 12 different scenarios in six areas, including rubble (simulating a collapsed building), vehicles, water, open wilderness, building, and buried. Area search and cadaver detection tests also require NAPWDA police obedience certification, which includes off-leash heeling, voice and hand signal commands, and emergency down. K-9 Beau has achieved six NAPWDA cadaver detection certifications; K-9s Maya and Shadow achieved their first NAPWDA SAR area search certification.

Galliot, the owner of GALTEX Inc., a small international niche apparel company, and Jocoy, a senior quality engineer with a large nonprofit, live in Simpsonville. Tisdale, the owner of Spartan Graphics, a graphic printing and signage company, lives in Spartanburg; he holds an Emergency Medical Responder certification. Galliot, Jocoy, and Tisdale all hold the NASAR SAR Tech II certification. Team members also take coursework in lost person behavior, managing the land search operation, and other advanced SAR courses.

"We take a lot of satisfaction in being able to offer emergency services agencies a variety of talented K-9 SAR teams for missing person searches," said Maria Pellegrino, president of SCSARDA. "Our K-9 SAR teams include area search, for searching wilderness areas in systematic sweeps while off-leash; trailing, for finding direction of travel and hasty searches of trails and paths; and human remains detection on land or water.

"After our K-9 teams have achieved our stringent internal team standards, we encourage them to pursue national certification. It is always helpful to have an experienced, outside eye to observe and assess our K-9 teams in the field. That is what NAPWDA's experienced Master Trainers offer our K-9 teams, and we are very grateful to Neil Raymond, retired sergeant and K-9 trainer in the Massachusetts State Police, and Sgt. C. R. (Rusty) Jones of the NC State Highway Patrol for their expertise during the latest NAPWDA certifications. All of our operational K-9 teams have certified with NAPWDA."