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SAR K-9 Unit's first bloodhound completes training and reports for duty

Albert joined the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in January 2022 as a 13-week-old puppy. He was donated to the Sheriff's Department by the Honorary Deputy Sheriff's Association (HDSA). After more than a year of training, he is now serving our communities as part of the Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) K-9 Unit. His special mission is to help find missing and at-risk people. Albert graduated from training at the end of March 2023 and received his badge from Sheriff Kelly A. Martinez.

The bloodhound is named in memory of Sergeant Don Albert Parker. Parker was a 25-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department and served as unit leader of SAR for nine years. He led the search for many high-profile cases that generated national and international attention. He was lost to brain cancer in 2018, but he is always in the county's hearts. Albert is the Sheriff's Department's way of honoring Parker for his dedication and passion to Search and Rescue.

Albert and his handler SAR K-9 Unit Leader Pam Medhurst are members of the National Police Bloodhound Association (NPBA). This group is comprised solely of sworn members of law enforcement, but they made an exception for Medhurst because of her 24 years of volunteer service and expertise in Search and Rescue. This makes Medhurst and Albert the only citizen volunteer members in the NPBA. The pair completed their certification during training and testing in Los Angeles in February 2023..

Albert is one of 18 dogs in the unit. SAR K-9 Unit members all undergo a five-month academy. Their dogs meet or exceed California guidelines for search and rescue dogs. Their handlers and K-9s recertify every two years.

The Sheriff's Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer unit. Together, they perform wilderness and urban rescues and search for missing people. Teams are available 24 hours per day to respond to local, state and federal agency requests. They also help the Sheriff's Department with evacuations during wildfires, flash floods and other natural disasters.

Submitted by San Diego County Sheriff's Department.


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