Maui News

New Dogs to Help Hawai’i Police Find Missing Persons

July 15, 2011, 8:48 AM HST
* Updated July 15, 1:16 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Honolulu Police Department, file photo by Wendy Osher.

The Missing Child Center-Hawai’i this week welcomed the newest canine aides that will help the state in missing person searches.

Bella and Magnum are scent-discriminating tracking dogs specially trained to assist in the location and recovery of missing persons. The two will also assist with locating lost hikers and persons suffering from dementia or other debilitating conditions, and with tracking escapees and fugitives.

Bella, a Bloodhound, will work with the Honolulu Police Department, while Magnum, a Labrador, will join the Hawaii Police Department’s canine unit.

Bella will train with Annie, the Honolulu Police Department’s first Bloodhound, who turns 10 years old this year.  “The HPD’s Missing Persons Section receives more than 500 missing person reports annually,” said Police Chief Louis Kealoha. “While the majority of these persons are found safe within 24 hours, dogs like Annie and Bella are critical in helping to locate individuals for whom time is of the essence.”

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Authorities with the Missing Child Center say that in a rare occasion that a stranger abduction of a child may occur, the first three hours are critical to the safe recovery of a child.  During his training in North Carolina, Magnum was already credited with finding a missing person.

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“While it’s thankfully rare that a child goes missing in our community, we must remain prepared for such a tragic event. Since our last canine aide, ‘Tucker,’ retired more than three years ago, we have been without such an asset in West Hawaii,” said Hawaii Police Chief Harry Kubojiri. “We anxiously await ‘Magnum’s’ arrival on our island.”

The two dogs were donated by the Atherton Foundation and the Friends of the Missing Child Center-Hawaii, a branch of the Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division of the Department of the Attorney General.

“We are pleased to participate in this collaborative effort to provide the Honolulu and Hawaii police departments with this valuable resource. Bella and Magnum reinforce our commitment to protecting Hawaii’s children and recovering missing persons,” said Attorney General David Louie.

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*** Supporting information courtesy Missing Child Center, Hawai’i.

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