K9 Search and Rescue team first of its kind for New Hanover Coun - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

K9 Search and Rescue team first of its kind for New Hanover County

Jorga is a 17-month old Dutch Shepherd working with I & I International. (Source: I & I International) Jorga is a 17-month old Dutch Shepherd working with I & I International. (Source: I & I International)
Instead of biting like police K9's, Jorga licks the person's face! (Source: I & I International) Instead of biting like police K9's, Jorga licks the person's face! (Source: I & I International)
I & I International is a search an rescue team based in New Hanover County. (Source: I & I International) I & I International is a search an rescue team based in New Hanover County. (Source: I & I International)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

A new, privatized search and rescue team with an emphasis on finding lost children, adults, and evidence is the first of its kind in New Hanover County.

More than 80,000 people are reported missing each year. New Hanover County previously has not had a full-time search and rescue team to help locate those missing or important evidence in missing person cases.

For that reason, Randy Searls decided to start his own program to specialize in search and rescues in the Cape Fear region.

Over two years ago, Searls had a vision. He started I & I International Search and Rescue.

It's is a 501c3 Public Charity capable of responding to a missing persons call as quickly as local law enforcement and plan to develop a Fast Action Search and Rescue team.

"We are one of the only, if one of the only full-time search and rescue team with a dual purpose dog that can deploy like the police can and be as effective as the police can," Searls said.

He is certified in Homeland Security, anti-terrorism, forensic tracking, search and rescue investigating, and survival and trauma care.

17-month-old Dutch Shepherd, Jorga, is I & I International's "MVP" K9 as Searls puts it. She's certified to track and discover missing people or any evidence to help find someone.

However, she has one distinctive difference between police K9's. Jorga doesn't bite at the end of a track. Instead, you'll find Jorga giving showing some love by licking the person's face.

Interacting with children is an important part of her training as she becomes a more proficient tracker.

She's worked twice so far with the Childcare Network Adventure Summer Camp at Hugh McRae Park in Wilmington. The kids are able to learn how Jorga tracks scents, while at the same time, the K9 fine-tunes her skills. Searls is open to opportunities like these to help Jorga train.

Jorga has searched 23 locations to date.

She's discovered two sets of remains and evidence that has turned several cases for different law enforcement agencies. Searls says Jorga can locate a single drop of blood, smell teeth buried 6 feet under the ground, and locate submerged remains.

Jorga and I & I International are able to travel and work nearly anywhere without the jurisdictional restrictions faced by law enforcement officials.

Searls and Jorga are not required to wait a certain amount of time and can begin an investigation or search immediately, if necessary. Searls believes this increases their chances for a successful search.

Searls does not charge for his company's services as his efforts are supported through donations. If you'd like more information on I & I International Search and Rescue or are interested in volunteering, you can visit their website.

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