The Shreveport Fire Department and Ark-La-Tex K9 Search and Rescue teams, through the highest level of professionalism, training and compassion, will collectively seek to bring home the lost.
The Shreveport Fire Department Canine Search and Rescue Task Force was formed under the direction of then Captain Kerry W. Foster in 1999. The team became operational with 5 dog teams soon after in 2000.
After applying for and receiving a grant to start a canine team, it was decided that by using the present “Search and Rescue Task Force” verbiage, the Shreveport Fire Department and team could apply this to other technical search and rescue specialties for future needs and growth. This concept has now been implemented to include such Shreveport Fire Department resources as “Hazardous Materials Response Team” and “Water Rescue Team.”
The Ark-La-Tex K9 Search and Rescue Strike Team was formed in late 2017 by Chief Kerry W. Foster (Ret.) and handlers Dan Fischer and Kevin Kidwell. They designed new tactical uniforms and logos. They also welcomed a fourth handler to the new team.
Despite operating under two different team names, our teams remain united in our goals, work, and partnership.
Our teams currently operate under three disciplines:
Human Remains Detection (HRD)
Commonly called cadaver work, Human Remains Detection (HRD) consists of searching for and locating decaying bones, tissues and organs of deceased humans both on land and in water. Our teams often assist law enforcement agencies with the search and detection of human remains. One of our past canines has worked with groups in historical detection, assisting agencies with historical grave sites, battle fields, and other areas where aged human remains might be resting.
Live Search Air Scenting
These dogs are dedicated to the detection of living persons only. Whether it is a collapsed building or horrific storm, these dogs will search and locate only those persons, any persons, that are still alive within a defined area. They also serve in wilderness searches where many acres of land might need to be covered.
The trailing discipline utilizes dogs that are trained in a scent specific manner. Therefore, they are capable of taking an article of clothing or something with a particular victim’s scent on it and following the path the victim took. They primarily respond to find the child that has run away, or the elderly person who has wandered off and cannot be found. Trained in the urban environment, these dogs are capable of following the path of these individuals through busy city streets, crowds, and traffic. This discipline is different from live search air scenting in the fact that these dogs are trained to only follow the scent in which they are given.
Since beginning operations, members of our teams have donated their free time and expertise to bring to the community a quality group of handlers and dogs that meet a variety of needs. Our teams have worked thousands of incidents in and around the Ark-La-Tex (Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas) region. We have even traveled to locations as far as Charleston, SC.
Our teams train regularly in the community. We expose the dogs to busy, loud and distracting environments so when the time comes for the dogs to perform their duties they will not be afraid but rather calm and focused. They are not allowed any aggression, and are trained to be very calm and gentle.
For more information on our teams, to request a K9 appearance at your next event, or for specific questions, please click here.