Warsaw Police Dept. debuts ‘Find My Family’ scent tracking program

WARSAW, N.C. (WNCT)–The Warsaw Police Department is the first in our area to offer a new service that’s taking preventative measures to safeguard folks who are prone to wandering off or who could go missing.

It’s created the “Find My Family” scent bank in collaboration with Warsaw Health and Rehab. The scent bank works by collecting your scent and storing it in the event you go missing.

The process is relatively simple and takes about fifteen minutes.

You’ll use a piece of gauze to collect body odor on exposed areas of skin and your underarms. It will be stored in a sterile container at the department with your name and date on it.

“It’s something we hope we never have to use but we do want to be prepared and available with the resources that we need to have a successful location,” Chief Eric Southerland said.

The chief says the collected samples will provide the best chance of locating a missing person by a K9. The department has two K9’s that are used to track people.

“Everything we have collects our scent,” Officer Isaiah Kennedy said. “Each person’s scent is unique and that’s what allows the dogs to track you.”

Kennedy had the idea to bring the program to the department after hearing about a missing elderly woman in Florida who was located using a scent preservation kit.

K9 Maya waits for a scent from Officer Frank Moss that she will track.

Scent collections are good for up to four and half years, but the department asks you get a new one done annually.

Chief Southerland also hopes other departments will get involved in the program. He says it only cost his department about $300 dollars for all of the supplies. It’s currently equipped to take 1,500 scent samples.

“If you have a family member that suffers from any type of cognitive impairment—autism, dementia—anything that you feel they’re a risk for wandering off, please come see us and we’ll gladly collect your scent; even people with small children,” Officer Kennedy said.

You can stop by the office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also call 910-293-7816 and make an appointment.

Chief Southerland says they are looking to expand the program to nearby schools and nursing homes. It’s something they plan to keep in place permanently.

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