Cadaver Certification

These standards and testing procedures have been created and authorized by the Florida Law Enforcement Canine Association with the purpose of providing independent performance evaluations to the civilian search and rescue community. The adoption of these standards and testing procedures will provide an opportunity for the search and rescue professional to gain evaluation of their canine’s ability and proficiency in the discipline tested by a reputable law enforcement association. Civilians must have a valid membership with a search and rescue organization or a letter showing affiliation with a law enforcement agency.

Basic Cadaver Certification

The purpose of this test is to evaluate the ability of a canine to detect and find cadaver substances concealed in various locations. All certifications are valid for one year. This test is designed to evaluate the K9 Team’s ability and proficiency in searching designated areas for the scent of a cadaver. It is required that the canine team passes the FLECA Obedience Phase for cadaver, search and rescue prior to testing for this Cadaver certification. It is required that this canine team demonstrates sociability with the Certifying Official prior to the Cadaver certification. Any display of aggression by the K9 during any part of this test will constitute a failure.

1. TESTING:
A. The test will consist of two parts with a total of four separate hides.

  • Vehicles (part one)
  • Outside Area Search (part two)

One testing substance will be less than thirty days old. The other testing substance will be over thirty days old. Two of the same aged substances can be used. Substances that can be used for the test include at least fifteen grams of:

  1. Aged blood
  2. Body fluids
  3. Other aged bone and tissue

B. The substances will be hidden thirty minutes prior to the test.
C. The target substance will be no higher than six feet or if buried no deeper than one foot.
D. If the substance is on the surface it must be concealed.
E. Handler can call the location of the substances after time limit has expired.

2. HANDLER EVALUATION:
A. The handler will be evaluated in two areas.

  1. Search Plan—Did the handler establish a good, effective, thorough search plan and clearly describe it to the judges?
  2. Handler—did the handler demonstrate an ability to read the canine and interpret the alert predicted? Did the handler demonstrate the ability to distinguish between an animal versus substance alert?

3. CANINE EVALUATION:
A. The canine will be judged in two areas.

  1. Alert— did the canine demonstrate an alert that was obvious, confident and consistent with the alert predicted by the handler? Were any substance alerts distinguishable from other non-substance indications?
  2. Search—did the canine demonstrate a positive search posture by being thorough, intense and effective?

4. VEHICLE SEARCH TEST
A. Five vehicles will be used. The vehicles may be of any type or model and may include autos, trucks, buses, airplanes, boats, etc.
B. The substance can be placed on the outside of the vehicle or placed inside where scent is available to the canine from the outside.
C. The order of the vehicles will be approved by the chief judge and will permit team’s easy access for searching.
D. The substance can be placed inside or on the outside of the vehicles.
E. No two hides will be placed on the same vehicle.
F. If only the outside of the vehicles are searched there will be a 10 minute time limit total with a two-minute warning at the eight-minute mark. If the interior of a vehicle is searched there will be an additional one minute per vehicle added to the total time. If all five vehicle interiors are searched a maximum time limit will be fifteen minutes with a two-minute warning.

5. AREA SEARCH:
A. Separate search areas will be provided to each team when available.
B. The area will be approximately fifty yards by fifty yards (about half the size of a football field). This area must have brush, trees and foliage covering the area. Items (suitcases, boxes, containers, etc.) may be used to hide one of the two testing substances as long as a minimum of five containers are within the area. Two hides will be in this area.
C. Buried substances will be no deeper than one foot and three other holes will be dug and covered for discrimination. Care should be taken to camouflage digs with leaves or ground cover to prevent an obvious location.
D. This test will have a twenty-minute time limit with a two minute warning. The handler can call the location of the substances after time limit has expired.
E. Care should be taken to use areas that will allow the canine to work off lead safely. The canine must be able to work with judges accompanying the handler. The judges will stay in back of the handler and work under the direction of the handler.
F. The handler will explain his/her search plan and the type of alert before the start of the test.

6. SCORING
Scoring is pass/fail, if a team misses a substance constitutes as a fail.


Advanced Cadaver Certification

CADAVER SEARCH TEST

This test is designed to evaluate the K9 Team’s ability and proficiency in searching designated areas for the scent of a cadaver. It is required that the canine team passes the FLECA Obedience Phase for cadaver, search and rescue prior to testing for this Cadaver certification. It is required that this canine team demonstrates sociability with the Certifying Official prior to the Cadaver certification. Any display of aggression by the K9 during any part of this test will constitute a failure. The Associate member SAR canine handler must provide Certifying Official (s) Proof of Completion of the following courses prior to testing

  1. Crime Scene Preservation Course:
  2. HAZMAT Awareness Course
  3. Blood borne Pathogens Course
  4. NIMS and ICS Training Courses, ICS-700, ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS-800 and ICS 809.

The Certifying Official will attach the submitted proof of completion of the above courses to the certification test sheet that he/she will send in to the NAPWDA secretary who will issue the associate member certification certificate

For certification the team CANNOT miss more than one (1) aid in all phases of testing. A “team miss” is defined as any incorrect response by the K9 team. If the testing K9 team has more than one (1) team miss, which is a failure, then the K9 team MUST RETEST in ALL PHASES AND in ALL ODORS that they are seeking accreditation for.

With the exception of the building and the water searches, the minimum search area must be 50 yards by 50 yards.
The area size for the building and water searches will be at the discretion of the Certifying Official.
One test area will not contain an aid. At least one of the test areas will contain the remains of an animal.
A total of twelve (12), legally three (3) months old and six (6) must be more than three (3) months old. Each must consist of bone, decomposition fluid and/or soft tissue. Obtained aids must be provided by the handler; six (6) of the aids must be less than

Pseudo aids are not acceptable.
Safety Equipment for Rubble Searches:

Mandatory:
Standard work/duty clothing to include long pants, work gloves and work type boots with ankle support.
Recommended:
Helmet (ANSI rated Z89.1-1997 Type 1)
Safety Boots (ANSI Z41 PT99 M1/75 C/75)
Eye Protection (ANSI Z-87.1)
Knee Pads Reviewed 06-02-13

TYPES OF SEARCHES TO BE PERFORMED:

  1. Two (2) scent hides will be placed in a rubble area, simulating a collapsed building. Building Search (#4) and Vehicle Search (#6) are mandatory searches.
  2. Two (2) scent hides will be covered with dirt, leaves, brush, or tree branches.
  3. Twelve hours before testing, two (2) scent hides will be buried in a highly vegetated area. There will be a minimum of 20 feet in all directions between holes. The aids must be at least three (3) months of age and be buried to the depth of 10 inches from the top of the training aid to the ground surface. A minimum of five (5) holes will be dug.
  4. Two (2) scent hides will be placed in an elevated position a minimum of six (6) feet from the ground level or floor. One (1) elevated scent hide will be in a building/structure and one (1) elevated scent hide outdoors.
  5. Two (2) scent hides will be submerged in two (2) feet of water for a minimum of thirty (30) minutes prior to the test or if a boat is available will be submerged in a minimum of six (6) feet of water for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the test. The choice will be at the discretion of the Certifying Official.
  6. A minimum of five (5) vehicles will be utilized, two (2) of which will contain a scent hide placed at least one (1) hour prior to the search. An optional searching area may be substituted for one of the above areas, except number 4 or 6
  7. Two (2) scent hides will be placed in an organic or inorganic rubbish pile.

Scoring: Pass/Fail
In order to certify, a team must successfully Above sections find at least eleven (11) of the twelve (12) scent hides.

Handler: The handler will advise the Certifying Official how the dog will indicate. He/She may enter the search area to direct the dog. This test may be done on or off lead. The dog’s indication must be obvious to the Certifying Official. ***NOTE*** There will be a break between searches. All tests given the Cadaver Search Team will be on a pass/fail basis. The Certifying Official will determine if the team will be certified upon the completion of the test. The handler and dog will be considered as a team and it is the team who will be certified. If the dog changes handlers, a new team exists and the team will need to be certified.

This certification will be valid for one (1) year from the date of issue as defined in Certification Validity paragraph. There will be no fee charged for FLECA certification testing. A fee may be imposed to cover expenses of travel, lodging and meals only, if necessary.