The 22-member Fruitland Police Department’s newest K-9 member is an 18-week-old bloodhound named Boone.
According to Police Chief Krah Plunkert, the K-9 will fill an essential role: tracking missing people that include criminal suspects, lost and autistic children and wandering seniors with dementia. Cpl. Josh Culver is Boone’s handler. Boone’s training will be completed by mid-December.
When needed, Boone’s services will be made available to police departments in the entire Lower Eastern Shore.
Caroline County is the other police agency in the area with a bloodhound but is a 90-minute car ride away.
“The decision to assign a bloodhound to our department is three-fold,” Plunkert said. “Bloodhounds have one of the most powerful and acute senses of smell among all breeds.
He said their noses are estimated to be between 1,000 to 10,000 times more sensitive than human’s, making them highly effective at tracking and locating scents, even over long distances and through difficult terrain.
“Bloodhounds excel at tracking individuals, missing persons and suspects,” Plunkert said. “They can follow a person's scent trail for miles, even if it's several days old. This makes them invaluable in search and rescue operations and criminal investigations.”
“When the urgent call is received for a missing person, time is the enemy,” he said. “Extreme heat and cold temperatures and being surrounded by multiple waterways, makes having a bloodhound an invaluable resource in search and rescue of vulnerable community members.” Criminals eluding law enforcement after a violent crime will also be aggressively tracked and delivered to justice.
“Our statistics show that six in 10 people living with dementia will wander at least once with many repeating the behavior,” said Development Manager Leslie Zimmerman of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Maryland Chapter. “Having Boone on the job will give hope to many families.”
Of the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, more than 110,000 are Marylanders. In the first-ever dementia prevalence *report for all 3,142 United
States counties, Maryland is the state with the highest dementia prevalence for people age 65 and older.