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Liberty sheriff’s bloodhound team earns certification
Bowman Master Handler Certification
Capt. Lonnie Bowman of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, center, and Charlie the bloodhound received the Master Handler Level One Certification, presented to them by Scent Evidence founder and CEO Paul Coley, right. The event was attended by Sheriff Steve Sikes, left, and other fellow officers. (photo/Kayla Gamble)

In 2019, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office K-9 bloodhound Charlie aided in finding a missing 10-year-old in Midway, Ga. The investigation was initiated by the Sheriff’s Office and, according to Charlie’s handler, Capt. Lonnie Bowman, the child was found after missing for nearly four hours and was returned to her grandparents. It was this case that earned the department, Bowman and Charlie a certification. 

Charlie the bloodhound was obtained by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office K-9 team back in September 2019 from Scent Evidence with funds raised by the community. Scent Evidence, a Tallahassee, Fla. based company, presented the Master Handler Level One Certification to Bowman. To determine how the awardee is selected, Scent Evidence takes what handlers and their canines do during operations and apply them to their tests. This is to avoid bias and influences that could otherwise sway the results. “The dog is out there doing its job and it did it well and it meets the criteria for this certification,” said Scent Evidence K9 Founder and CEO Paul Coley about Charlie’s performance. He also stated this Master Handler certification is the first of these certifications being awarded.

 According to Bowman, Charlie has worked seven cases, five of which were successful. He also stated that 100 percent of Charlie’s missing persons cases were successful and the two failed were runaway criminals who, as Bowman theorized, were able to escape thanks to the possible aid of a vehicle. Despite originally being purchased for Project Lifesaver assignments, Charlie has not had to undertake any such tasks. He has, however, been used to aid in cases in Bryan, McIntosh and Long County where he helped track down suspects. 

For more information about the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office or Charlie and the other members of the K9 unit, visit the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page or the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit Facebook page.

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