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Bloodhounds undergo training to aid police

January 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Bloodhounds and other dogs were undergoing training to learn more about catching criminals and saving lives. Twenty bloodhounds , trained apprehension dogs and their handlers are undergoing training, including classroom instruction on how the handlers can get the most from their dogs.

"We're able to network. We're able to problem solve talking with other handlers. They might have been in other scenarios or they might have found a problem that other handlers haven't come across yet," described Sgt. Coby Webb of Riverside County's Sheriff's Department.

Webb's bloodhound, Maggie May, in 2001 was credited with connecting a Riverside man with brutal attacks on two elderly women. For years, bloodhounds and search and rescue dogs have been used around the world.

"They're bred for tracking. They have the largest nose, the long ears, which helps keep the scent right to their nose. And this is what they have been doing for decades," described Webb.

Friday, bloodhounds worked with trained apprehensive dogs to locate criminal suspects, where the bloodhounds are trained to locate the suspect.

K-9 programs can be expensive, but more departments are developing programs of their own.

"There is an expense that is incurred, but I think the outcome, if a dog is able to find just one person or save a child's life in some situation, then that money is all worth the time and efforts you put into it," said Doug Lowry, president of the National Police Dog Association.

For the dogs, it's just a game. When properly trained, they're happy with pleasing their handler and being rewarded with a cookie.

The LAPD is partnering with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in presenting this four-day seminar.