CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield County Police Department is working to improve how they respond to and locate missing people. And on Wednesday, our sister-station WRIC met two puppies that are in training to aid officers in the search.
Brother and sister puppies, Mazie and Rudy, are the department’s first bloodhounds in decades.
“The bloodhound gives us a lot more capability for tracking older cases as far as they don’t need to be fresh as they necessarily need to be more a Shepard or Malinois,” an officer told 8News.
“Any time children go missing, we request bloodhounds or scent dogs that are able to do that type of tracking and stuff, so this obviously will help us be able to find kids a lot faster, as opposed to having to wait for other agencies to provide that assistance to us.”
At a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, CCPD became the first department in Virginia to become certified with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Every CCPD officer and 9-1-1 call center employee went through training from March through July before the department was given the Missing Kids Readiness Program certification.
According to the national agency’s website, a child in Virginia is reported missing almost every day. Chesterfield police say the certification means officers and those working in the 9-1-1 call center are up to date on all the newest training to safely find the areas missing people.
“Everyone has attended the same exact training so everybody knows what needs to happen when you respond out, what needs to happen during the investigation, [and] the risks associated with runaways and missing kids,” said Lt. Brad Conner.
“NCMEC developed the Missing Kids Readiness Program to promote best practices for responding to calls of missing, abducted, and sexually exploited children. Law enforcement agencies and emergency communications centers are recognized for meeting essential training and policy elements demonstrating preparedness for responding to a missing child incident,” a CCPD spokesperson wrote in a news release.
“We want people to feel safe in the community that they live, and trusting that law enforcement is doing everything that they can to bring a loved one home,” Chesterfield Lt. Brad Conner said.
“This certification is yet another example of the Chesterfield County Police Department’s ongoing commitment to seeking and embarking upon best practices to meet the emerging needs of our community,” said Col. Jeffrey Katz.
With the new certification and family members, officers have high hopes for the Chesterfield community.
The new puppies are still in training and have a few months until they’re ready for duty. But with the addition of Mazie and Rudy, the department now has more than 13 K9s helping them solve crimes in the county.
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