It can be a terrifying experience when a loved one goes missing.
It is equally disheartening for law enforcement when their search efforts to track the missing are futile, a problem that two Southern California K-9 officers became determined to solve.
Two years and a lot of hard work later, the launch of Find’em Scent Kit has been announced. The kit provides a way to collect and store a person’s scent so that when they go missing, families can quickly hand it over to law enforcement to present to their canine partners.
It started as a concept that a sheriff’s lieutenant, Dr. Coby Webb, shared two years ago with K-9 officer, Travis Shows. Both knew from years of K-9 handling experience that articles containing a missing person’s scent, such as a pillowcase or piece of clothing, are oftentimes too contaminated with the scents of others they have come in contact with. The contamination results in an uphill battle for the K-9 in its efforts to find that one missing person.
Trying to locate a good scent article with minimal contamination wastes vital time, Shows said, especially in the search for children, individuals with special needs, and the elderly who suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Time is of the essence; it could make the difference between life and death.
“Dogs are already used to find people, but instead of being reactive, we have found a way to proactively take their scent,” said Shows, a Bloodhound handler for a Southern California police department.
A southwest Riverside County resident, Shows said several local companies were instrumental in the development of the Find’em Scent Kit. A big player was Global Link Sourcing of Murrieta, which worked with Find’em to help design, manufacture and assemble the kits.
“They had this great concept they wanted to create,” said Jean-Luc Annet, president and CEO of Global Link Sourcing. “If I did not believe it could be successful I wouldn't have taken the project.”
With parts manufactured at eight different international plants, then assembled at Global Link Sourcing’s assembly facility in China, each (patent pending) scent kit comes in a heavy-duty CD-sized case. Inside the lockable Scent Safe case is a DVD and written set of instructions on how and where to collect a person’s scent. The necessary components inside the kit consist of non-latex gloves, sterile gauze pads, sterile towel, specialty temper evident zip sealed scent storage bag, and serialized zip-locking tie.
After the scent of the loved one is captured and placed into the bag, the bag is placed back into the Scent Safe case. The lockable case is then secured with a serialized zip-locking tie. Lastly, the serial number from the zip tie should be registered on the Find’em website for future benefits, including reminders to replace the kit before it expires and future discounts when referring a friend. The case is stored inside a freezer to maintain optimal freshness for one year or until the case is opened and used.
Shows said donations may be made to the company’s non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation (The Find Me Foundation), whose mission is to provide low-income families, organizations, and many others with scent kits, so “we can together reduce the number of missing persons around the world.”
“Please call 855-346-3368 extension 701 if you would like to donate to a great cause,” Shows said.
more people who have them, the more lives that will be saved.”