BAY COUNTY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - When a loved one is missing, minutes can seem like hours.
.The Bay County Sheriff's Office is unveiling a new program that may help find missing people faster. (WJHG/WECP)
The Bay County Sheriff's Office is unveiling a new program offering a new way to track missing people with scent evidence preservation kits.
"Time is of the essence," says BCSO's Public Information Officer Ruth Corley. "They need to be able to search and search quickly and this is one way."
Corley says it's normally hard to track missing people down even with trained K-9s.
"When we get there, the dog is shown an article of clothing or a pillow that person slept on the problem with that is it could have been contaminated," said Corley.
With the preservation kits, people can use the kit to keep someone's scent in a special jar for a long period of time, and if that person goes missing, then a trained K-9 can use the scent to find them.
"It's the contamination that causes the search to go a little slower. This enable the dogs to know exactly what they're looking for. It's not been contaminated," said Corley.
Local experts say this is a good tool to help search for people with autism, Alzheimer's or dementia who wander off.
"They could be picked up by stranger, there would certainly be some danger there," said Andrea Marsh, chief operating officer for the Bay County Council on Aging. "They could get lost in an area that they are not familiar with. I think if you're tracking through scent I would have to believe it would be a quicker process."
Officials say the kit can preserve the scent of someone up to 10 years , and they're one of the first counties in the state to have the program.
Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.