Police Welcome New Canine, Say Goodbye to Another
The Hawai‘i Police Department welcomed canine Scout to the department and bid aloha to longtime tracking canine Falcon, who retired Friday, Jan. 21. Both working canines were honored in a ceremony at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo on Friday, Feb. 4.
Scout, a 20-month-old Belgian Malinois, is paired with canine handler officer Corey Kaneko and assigned to the Area I (East Hawai‘i) Juvenile Aid Section, where he will help emergency responders in tracking missing children and endangered adults. Trained as a live find human tracking/cadaver canine, Scout was acquired by the department through a $16,000 donation from the Hawai‘i Island K9 Association. The donation covers purchasing Scout, his travel to Hawai‘i Island, and handler training.
“Time is always of the essence when searching for a critically missing child,” said Amanda Leonard, coordinator/branch chief, Missing Child Center – Hawaii, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, Department of the Attorney General. “Scent-tracking K9s like Scout are invaluable in helping police recover missing children quickly and safely. We appreciate Hawai‘i Island K9 Association and its supporters for this significant contribution to Hawai‘i Police Department and the Hawai‘i Island community.”
Friends of MCCH donated Scoutʻs predecessor, Falcon, to HPD and financially supported training for Falcon and another department canine.
“The police department is very grateful to the Hawai‘i Island K9 Association for their support for our department’s K9 program that allowed for the purchase of Scout and associated training for Officer Kaneko,” said Police Chief Paul Ferreira, in a press release commemorating the new arrival. “As well as the support for our programs that we receive from MCCH and the Friends of MCCH. Through community partnerships such as these we are able to enhance our abilities in responding to calls for locating missing children and endangered adults here on Hawai‘i Island.”
Scout began training as a live find and tracking/cadaver canine at the Houston K9 Academy in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 5, 2021. Born in the Netherlands, Scout was hand selected by Houston K9 Academy owner as a potential scent recognition dog.
Later that same month, Officer Kaneko travelled to the Houston K9 Academy to meet a handful of potential canines for the department. He selected Scout based on the dogʻs temperament and willingness to work.
“Every dog has the ability to track,” Kaneko said. “It’s just that some track better than others and Scout shows a high drive to track. I’m thankful for getting the opportunity to go to the Houston K9 Academy and be able to make an in-person selection of Scout from three quality choices.”
Once Scout was selected for the department, he received a series of vaccination shots over a period of time, further training, and received a final bill of health before arriving on island in late January.
As Scout gets acclimated to Hawaiʻi and his new handler, both he and Officer Kaneko will undergo a final 40-hour training with a Honolulu-based certified K9 trainer, Corporal Wayne Silva, Special Services Division/Canine Unit, Honolulu Police Department (retired), the cost of which is covered by the Hawaiʻi Island K9 Association donation.
Scout joins the department just as Falcon, a 9-year-old Labrador retriever, retires.
During his seven years with the department, Falcon was called out roughly 50 times and was responsible for the recovery of missing children who wandered away and assisted in finding endangered adults. In addition to finding people, Falcon provided valuable information on possible paths of travel concerning missing children and endangered adults, which assisted community members and/or law enforcement personnel in locating them.
Falcon also participated in numerous educational talks with schools, community groups, and outreach programs, like “Shop with a Cop.”
Falcon will enjoy his retirement living with the family of Sergeant James Steffen, who was Falcon’s previous handler.