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Palm Coast Thursday, May 30, 2019 2 years ago

Behind-the-scenes training Flagler Sheriff's bloodhound, K-9 Holmes

Holmes is the first bloodhound FCSO has had in decades.
by: Paige Wilson Community Editor

In the thick terrain at the Flagler County landfill property, K-9 Holmes stood at the ready, waiting for a German search command from Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Fred Gimbel. After he heard “such” (pronounced “tsuuk”), Holmes dove his nose into the tall grass to pick up on the decoy’s scent. After he found the deputy who was hiding behind shrubbery about 20 yards away, Holmes was rewarded with a treat — this time, dried liver — and showered with praise and petting.

The “puppy trail” training for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s newest K-9 — the first bloodhound in decades — took place May 7, at the landfill. 

Gimbel, Holmes’ handler, trains him during every shift and takes him home after work with his other K-9, Marko. 

A quickly growing bloodhound from Kentucky, Holmes eats about four cups of food a day, not including treats he’s given after completing a training task. He sleeps from about 10:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., Gimbel said. 

To expose Holmes to more people, scents and environments, he visited the students at Rymfire Elementary School in Project TRAIN on May 15. 

Now, as of May 28, Holmes is 13 weeks old and weighs about 22 pounds. 

Gimbel said that if training continues to progress as well as it is now, he hopes to be able to deploy Holmes for duty by September or October.

Cpl. Fred Gimbel says the command word “such” (pronounced “tsuuk”) to K-9 Holmes during a "puppy trails" training session at the Flagler County landfill. Photo by Paige Wilson

“We want work to be far more rewarding, more fun, because that’s how you’re going to get better work out of him. If it’s more fun at home, he’s just going to want to sit there. So, we do bring him in and play with him, but we limit it out to maybe 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there. We don’t let him in the house all day.”

- CPL. FRED GIMBEL, K-9 handler

Cpl. Fred Gimbel holds K-9 Holmes back as Rymfire students Jasmine Santana and Nyla King run off. Holmes has the scent of Santana and must recognize her as his target once he finds her. Photo by Paige Wilson

“It just comes down to socialization — getting him used to as many things, area, people as possible. Just get him out to different people to make him realize that people are friends and they’re not the enemy, so he’s not afraid of them.”

- CPL. FRED GIMBEL, K-9 handler

Rymfire student Desmond Akmentins rewards K-9 Holmes with a treat after training.

“At a puppy age, their food drive is really high, so you want to incorporate that into the training as much as you can.”

- CPL. FRED GIMBEL, K-9 handler

Cpl. Fred Gimbel lets K-9 Holmes sniff a student's phone before he tracks her on Rymfire Elementary's campus. Photo by Paige Wilson

“They are breed specifically for tracking and trailing, so they’re actually breed for the purpose to suit our mission of what we want to accomplish — helping us trail and track and find missing juveniles, missing elderly with dementia, or Alzheimer’s patients. They’re going to help us tremendously.”

- CPL. FRED GIMBEL, K-9 handler

Rymfire Elementary School student Jasmine Santana pets K-9 Holmes after a training session. Photo by Paige Wilson


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