Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley is pleased to announce that the Sheriff’s Office will be adding a seventh dog to its specialized K9 Unit. The Sheriff’s Office currently has five narcotics dogs, one explosive detection dog and as of 9/21/20, “Liz” has joined the team. K9 Elizabeth “Liz” a scent discriminate bloodhound, is 10-months old, and is in the process of completing her training to locate a missing person by using the individual’s unique scent. Will County purchased K9 Liz from Tallahassee-based Scent Evidence K9 when she was only 3-months old and the Sheriff’s Office has been following her training progress since then. When Liz reported for duty on Monday, she met her new handler, Sheriff’s Deputy Marty Stortz and Sergeant Jeff Pogose.
Sheriff Mike Kelley stated, “Our K9 Unit is a vital part of our department. The dogs are specifically trained to assist our officers with tools that cannot be matched by humans. The addition of Liz is a win-win situation. It allows families and caregivers to be better prepared in the event that a loved one goes missing and it assists our deputies when every second matters, in expediting search and recovery assignments. We are very excited to have Liz on board to assist with our at-risk residents in Will County.”
The Scent Evidence Preservation kits that are used by Liz provide a way for families and caregivers to pre-collect a scent article from an individual and store it in case a person goes missing. Once the kit is completed, it is kept at the home or facility where the at-risk individual resides and remains effective for up to 10 years. Founder and CEO of Scent Evidence K9, Paul Coley, stated, “We call our kits, ‘peace of mind in a jar’. As a former FBI Forensic Canine Operations Specialist and canine handler, I was constantly faced with the challenge of finding an effective scent article during active searches. The preservation kits have served that need.”
Liz was named in honor of Elizabeth Smart who is a survivor and child safety advocate. Smart gained national attention when she was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City at age 14 and was held for nine months with her captors in the wilderness of Utah. The Elizabeth Smart Foundation, located in Utah, has collaborated with Scent Evidence K9 on several projects to help promote more effective search response methods in missing person cases.
Preservation kits will be distributed to at-risk adults and juveniles who reside in Will County. If a deputy encounters someone while on-duty who may benefit from a kit, the deputy will inform the family/caregiver, suggest that one be completed, and provide the kit to the family. Family members may also come into the Will County Sheriff’s Office at 16911 W. Laraway Road in Joliet, during business hours, to request a kit or call the Sheriff’s Office at 815-727-4736 to leave a request message. A deputy will then arrange for the family member to receive one. Preservation kits will only be distributed to individuals whose family member is deemed vulnerable due to their current medical/mental state of mind.
Sheriff Mike Kelley would like to extend a special Thank You to the Crete Township F-Men for bringing his attention to this valued business, Scent Evidence K9’s, in order to enhance the Sheriff’s Office.
Visit the Sheriff’s website for information on how to request a preservation kit: www.willcosheriff.org
For additional information, please visit: www.scentevidencek9.com
Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) have an increased tendency to wander and become lost. Children with autism are also at high risk to wander and go missing. The Alzheimer’s Association states that 60% or 3 in 5 people with Alzheimer’s or dementia will wander. The American Pediatric Association states that almost 50% of children with autism will wander and go missing at least once before the age of 17.