Back in July 20, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office introduced its new department bloodhound, Charlie, to the public. Charlie was sworn in at a golf tournament at the Cherokee Rose Country Club, an event that doubled as a benefit for the Project Lifesaver program. Project Lifesaver, which has been touched upon in previous Courier articles, is a program used to track people with cognitive disorders in the event that they wander away from home or from loved ones. Project Lifesaver clients are given a tracking device to wear. If they wander off and become lost, the device can be activated, allowing law enforcement officers to track the individual and bring them back home.
Along with promoting the program and prompting residents to sign up it, Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes also encourages the public to purchase a scent evidence kit. The scent kit, also referred to as the child safety kit, comes with scent preservation jar and swab, and an I.D. for the person. It is currently encouraged for children and for those with disorders such as Alzheimer’s and autism.
To catalog the dependent’s scent, parents and caregivers are first to put on medical gloves. This is to keep their scent from getting on the swab, thus contaminating the sample. Afterwards, the caregiver opens the swab packet and wipes their dependent. The swab is placed in the jar which is sealed tight and a seal provided in the kit is put into place. Each kit is good for only one person, so caregivers with two dependents should purchase two kits. The kits go for $15, but the Sheriff’s Office is always accepting for donations so they can give kits to those who need but cannot afford them.
Once the scent is stored, it is good for up to 10 years. This is the oldest the scent can be in order for Charlie the bloodhound to pick up on it.
In an impromptu demonstration given at the Aug. 6 Hinesville Police Department sponsored National Night Out, Charlie was presented with a scent from a volunteering firefighter. The firefighter was swabbed before proceeding to walk through the crowd of event goers. Charlie took a whiff of the swab and managed to track down the firefighter in less than a minute.
Sheriff Sikes expressed his gratitude to the public for their donations in helping secure the dog, and believes that Charlie will be both a good addition and a tremendous help to the Sheriff’s Office.