Search and Rescue Mission November 15th 2023

search and rescue
search and rescue

This post is about the search and rescue mission yesterday. If you want to verify it then you can surely verify it with others that were there because there were many of us.

My intention is not to cast shadows on law enforcement, as there were commendable officers present. However, the hierarchy that governs them sets the stage for a narrative that delves into the intricate dance of leadership during a critical operation.

search and rescue
search and rescue

Here is the order of events according to what I experienced.

9:09AM – I reach out to the Drake family and let them know that I have a search and rescue dog and that I would be glad to go help find Mr. Drake

9:47AM – I get details about where Mr Drake was, thinking it is Ridgeway at first.

9:48 AM Flash and I head out in Route a family member calls me and let’s me know for sure it is Owels Nest and gives me directions.

10:20AM I reach Owels nest, there are cop cars, game commission everywhere and cops standing around. I run up to the lead guy and let them know that I have a search and rescue dog and we are ready to work. He responded with “Hang tight, we have a dog on the way”. I asked how many people have been down there, he looked at me like, none of your business. I got the vibe like he didn’t want me or Flash there. The reason why I asked this is that if very few people were down there we would have less of a challenge because Flash tracks people in the forest all the time even if we do not have a scent to start with.

10:21 – 11AM – We are standing around, people keep showing up. I keep talking with the people who are asking me why they are not putting Flash out there to search for this guy. I responded with, “I don’t know but I have to do what the IC Indecent Commander tells me”. They daylight is burning here, Mr Drake has been in the forest overnight since about 1 or 2PM the day previously. So we are looking at 29 degrees overnight for almost 20 hours.

11 AM Kane K9 Unit finally arrives and goes into the woods. Picks up a scent then a track. Handler is wearing a neck brace. They are in the forest approx 45 minutes to an hour. I think they had a backup dog try next however, they were keeping all us people there to help in the dark. “We were on a need to know basis and we didn’t need to know” – Ask anyone that was there that was not a cop please to verify this.

11:23 AM Chopper Finally Arrives, does circles around the area. As a side note, searching for people in a chopper in the middle of the forest is a shot in the dark. It is like finding a needle in a haystack. However, keeping all the people out of the forest so the Chopper could have a better shot of finding someone made sense. Not letting a highly trained search and rescue dog like Flash go look for the man DID NOT MAKE ANY SENSE TO ANYONE THERE!

12:31 PM Chopper still searching. Drones are considered to launch but we didn’t see any drones launched. We just heard them talking about it.

1:09PM – Chopper is running low on fuel going to get more fuel.

{as a side-note I am in communication with the family the entire time letting them know whats going on}

1:13 PM – They start sending out people that are not Law Enforcement but NOT Flash and I just yet.

1:21 PM – They send Flash and I out to search an area where no scent was detected. Why is this important? Well we had Mr Drakes truck on the side of the road ½ mile down on the left. SO they sent Flash and I ½ mile the opposite way with no scent. Basically, they were using us to comb areas which is fine however they were not utilizing Flashes ability to track, Ill tell you why later in this post.

APPROX 2:00PM – Chopper back and searching area

2:25 PM – They are waiting on more “Police Ordered” search and rescue dogs to come.

3 PM – Daylight is burning so they plan on combing the area where he was with people.

3:30PM – Flash finally gets to smell scent from Mr Drake and we get to comb the area. Flash sets off and knows the scent is in the area. However, we are not allowed to follow Flash since we have to comb the area. So we stick with the plan of combing the area.

Approx 4:15 PM – 4:30PM – Flash locks on to a hard scent and leaves me for 10 minutes, Which he never does. He actually went to Mr Drakes truck.

Approx 5PM to 5:30PM – Getting too Dark they are concluding the combing search of the area. The IC Incident Commander is telling everyone that he is going to spend the night there. However, I believe that he already knew Mr Drake was home.

Approx 5:30PM Family member calls me to let me know Mr Drake is home safe and sound with his Dog.

search and rescue
search and rescue
search and rescue
search and rescue

Lessons Learned

What lessons and conclusion do I make from this experience? I kinda feel like if law enforcement cannot be the hero then the victim will have to suffer. It has to be their dogs, their people because when they are the hero it looks good on their department, law enforcement etc. However, it would look much better on them if they utilized all resources at their disposal which Flash was it! He said, “We send the best out first”, I kind of chuckled a little in disagreement. Yes I know I am prejudice and I do love all dogs including the other search and rescue dogs however, they should of worked all the dogs together. Maybe Mr. Drake would not of had to spend all that time in the forest and find his own way out

Things Should Be Handled Better

From my standpoint there was no empathy or compassion on the part of the IC, he was in command and he wanted you to know that he was in command. Any suggestions or ideas that you have are irreverent. He did nothing in the ways of appreciating us and our concern because we were there. More or less we were just in the way. When they did use us they sent us in the opposite direction until it got late then we were sent in like a Hail Mary. I am sure the IC is a nice guy, I just very much disagree with the way this was handled and I believe I could of done a much better job.

Mr. Drake Highly Trained Survivalist

Additionally, I want to highlight that Mr. Drake was a highly trained survivalist. He actually taught survival and maybe that is what got him through that cold night. I would love to talk to this man because I think he has a lot to teach. I have his puppies pillow and I am going to see if I can drop it off at his house. I am anxious to meet the man that at 86 years old spend a freezing night in the middle of our large forest with minimal supplies.

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