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Chatham County News Article on NC K9 E.R.T.

North Carolina K9 Emergency Response Team
by Valerie Broadway

This column was in the works before Hurricane Florence existed, but she is just the kind of disaster that could call for the work of the North Carolina K9 Emergency Response Team (NCK9ERT).

I interviewed Melisa Semenov, a Chatham resident who has been involved with NCK9ERT for 15 years. (See the full story by following the link below)

Chatham County News

NC K9 Emergency Response Team Competes in National Fundraising Competition

NC K9 Emergency Response Team Competing For $5000.00 Grant-
Vote for us at K9 Contest, enter your information and use “NC K9 Emergency Response Team” for the department name!

WENDELL, NORTH CAROLINA – The North Carolina K9 Emergency Response Team is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Search and Rescue team based out of Wendell, North Carolina. NC K9 ERT has been nominated to participate in the 4th annual K9 fundraising competition sponsored by Aftermath Services. The winning K9 team, from anywhere in the country, will take home a check for $5000.00 that may be used for training and operations.

NC K9 ERT trains and promotes the working dog for search missions, and supports evaluations for search dogs. NC K9 ERT provides highly skilled search teams 24 hours a day, responds to requests from Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, Fire Departments or other Official requesting agencies, during natural or manmade disasters, drownings, and lost or missing persons in urban and wilderness settings, at no cost to the requesting agency. Many of these calls include crime scenes and murder cases. Police Departments around the state rely heavily on NC K9 ERT’s highly trained Human Remains Detection K9’s to help bring home the lost, and missing whether the victim left voluntarily; for those with cognitive impairments or those who’ve been kidnapped and possibly murdered.

Because NC K9 ERT does not charge for their services, members must pay out of pocket not only to train but also for their response to searches in North Carolina and sometimes out of state. This can cost the average K9 Handler upwards of $2,500.00 or more per year per handler. Volunteer teams such as NC K9 ERT must obtain funding solely through donations and grants. This funding is normally used for training and team operations, offsetting K9 medical costs, responding to crime scenes and other searches or to provide continuing education for their handlers.

Assistant Chief Jack Thorpe of NC K9 Emergency Response Team stated the following about the contest: “I along with the many members of the North Carolina K9 Emergency Response Team are proud to participate in Aftermath Services K9 Contest for the first time in 2015. Our team is a dedicated group. They pay out of pocket to help the public. They drive for hours, train for years and work night and day to help bring home the lost and missing. I’m proud of our team, and I’m thankful that we have such a highly dedicated group of members who are willing to give so much of their time for such a noble cause. We know going to a search that we are there more often than not to “recover” then to “rescue”. We respond when the rescue teams have left. We get into the mess that is left behind and clean up whenever we can. We do it for two reasons. One, to bring home a missing person to their loved one. Second, because we love to serve the public. This is our way of giving back, so that the lost may come home and be at peace.”

NC K9 ERT members train hundreds of hours per year, requiring many certifications for both the handler and K9. It’s rigorous, unforgiving and relentless. Because of this, the team is requesting your vote in the 4th annual Aftermath Services K9 Competition. By voting for NC K9 ERT, the public can participate in bringing home the lost, with no out of pocket cost.

You can vote for the North Carolina K9 Emergency Response Team by visiting Once at the site, you may enter your vote on the right side of the page. Enter your name and email address along with the team name. In the Department Name field, please enter “NC K9 Emergency Response Team.” You can vote every day once per day. These funds will help offset out of pocket costs for the K9 handlers, and also provide for training and operational funding. Voting Closes November 3, 2015

About NC K9 ERT:
NC K9 ERT trains and promotes the working dog for search missions, and supports evaluations for search dogs. NC K9 ERT provides highly skilled search teams 24 hours a day, responds to requests from Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, Fire Departments or other Official requesting agencies, during natural or manmade disasters, drownings, and lost or missing persons in urban and wilderness settings, at no cost to the requesting agency.

In addition, NC K9 ERT works to promote understanding and public awareness of the role of search dogs and to further the public knowledge, interest and use of search and rescue trained dogs through public demonstrations and lectures to state and local agencies, schools, civic organizations, retirement and rest homes.

Trained in Wilderness and Cadaver (water & land) searches, these teams undergo rigorous training and must meet strict standards before they are deployed on a mission. Ongoing training and continuing education is required for all members to maintain their skills at optimal levels.

Training in search and disaster response is conducted in diverse situations and often entails more than 50 hours per month for each member.

All members are responsible for providing their own personal equipment.

Contributions and donations are solicited to help defray the costs of team equipment, (radios, PFDs, First Aid Kits, etc.) training, and travel expenses.

More information can be found at the following sites:

About Aftermath Services:
Aftermath Services LLC is the premier, nation-wide crime scene clean up and biohazard remediation company. Call one of our local offices for crime scene cleanup, biohazard cleanup, death cleanup or blood spill cleanup, any time – day or night.

Since 1996, we have provided professional and compassionate services to families and employers who are dealing with the death of a friend or loved one due to suicide, homicide or industrial accidents. Our highly trained and caring field technicians are experienced in all the protocols necessary to return your home or business to a safe and livable condition. …
Aftermath’s crime scene cleanup teams have handled blood cleanup, communicable disease decontamination and specialty sanitization for thousands of crime scenes, hoarding situations and contaminated buildings. We understand that not only are these situations unexpected and upsetting, but they can also be dangerous and difficult to clean.

Our code of service, The Aftermath Way, is more than a cleaning regimen. We believe that our customers deserve the highest quality service while being treated with dignity and respect. We use discreetly marked vehicles to maintain confidentiality. We document the work we perform in detailed reports provided to you for your insurance company or compliance department.

Our company-owned network includes more than 32 regional and mobile offices, strategically located in major metropolitan centers around the country. Our locations are staffed with qualified and experienced crime scene cleanup professionals. We provide business and residential customers with a full range of biohazard remediation and cleaning assistance in cases involving homicide, suicide, unattended death, personal accidents, industrial accidents, tear gas, and communicable disease outbreaks.

American Guardians PSMC Raise Money and Awareness for NC CERT

SANFORD NC – The American Guardians MC showed a huge amount of support for our team this last week despite poor weather and rain. They hosted a motorcycle ride, and many other special events in Sanford to raise money and awareness for NC CERT. We can’t thank you enough. Article and link below:

“THE SANFORD HERALD – Despite gray skies and plenty of rain, the revving of motorcycles echoed throughout downtown Sanford Saturday afternoon as nearly 50 members of America’s Guardians Motorcycle Club rode in to attend the club’s fundraiser for the N.C. K9 Emergency Response Team at Depot Park.

“Mother nature didn’t really play nice,” said Club President Jerry “Saint” Read. “But it is what it is. [CERT] is just an amazing organization, and we’ll do what we can to help them.”

CERT is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization of current and former law enforcement officers which raises and trains dogs to help police agencies with search and rescue missions.”

See the full article here

NC CERT Holds 2015 Human Remains Detection Seminar, April 23-26, 2015

JANUARY 22, 2015 – WILSON NC – NC CERT will be holding our annual Human Remains Detection Seminar from April 23-26, 2015. For more information please download the following documentation. Completed forms should be emailed to HRD2015@NCCERT.ORG.

We look forward to seeing you again this year.  If you haven’t yet attended one of our seminars, we look forward to meeting you!

Relevant Documents:

Application and Registration


Sandra Lesko – Sandra has been employed by the Willoughby Hills Fire Departments since 1982 and is now a retired full time Fire Captain from that department.  She has also worked in Law Enforcement since 1990, currently a Deputy with the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office assigned to the K-9 Unit.  Sandra Has been working with K-9’s since 1996 starting in the field of tracking but soon switched to Human Remains Detection (HRD) and has been working an HRD K-9 since 1997. Sandra has worked with the FBI Cleveland Division since 2002, working primarily on missing persons cases with her German Shepherds.  Sandra is currently working her third K-9, Doc and her fourth K-9, EJ.  All four K-9’s have successfully located Human Remains and have indicated on blood evidence and small parts of human remains in several vehicles and buildings, which has ultimately linked suspects to the victims.  Sandra’s K-9’s have also located Human Remains and bones in various locations, including several drowning victims.   She travels around the State of Ohio and beyond where ever she is needed, including working Ground Zero on 9/11/2001.  Sandra is a member of the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA), The Ohio Identification Officers (OIO), Ohio Law Enforcement Canine Association (OLECA), in addition to several other affiliations.  Sandra continually attends schools on Death Investigation and other related classes, as well as, attends and teaches classes on K-9 Human Remains Detection.

Michael Hadsell – Michael has been in the working and training of K9’s for almost 35 years. He is currently the Training Director for the Peace River K9 Search & Rescue Association and has brought almost 50 K-9s to National Certification. His career began back in Los Angeles California working with Law Enforcement and also providing K9 support for visiting VIP’s and Celebrities. Since then Michael has competed in Schutzhund, KNPV, K9 Pro Sports and AKC tracking events. He is a member in good standing with the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and the Working Dog Association since 2001. Michael is also a member of the North America Police Working dog Association (NAPWDA) and member and competitor in the National Association of Scent Work (NACSW). He has also been a certifying Judge and Certified Bite Suit Decoy for the Service Dog Association.
Michael’s philosophy of training addresses the total and balanced dog. He is not a proponent of ALPHA dog or Dominance theory training. Rather he uses motivational and positive training methods combined with Clear communication skills to build reliable behaviors. This avoids all the inadvertent problems that come with the aversive styles of training. Michael also continuously attends seminars by top trainers in this field so he can keep his skills at their best.

Cpl. Chris Wood – Cpl. Wood has been with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Jan. 2003 as a Corrections Deputy. He was a Field Training Officer (FTO) and promoted to Corporal in Sep. 2005. Chris has been a Bloodhound Handler from 2003 and a Cadaver K9 Handler since 2005. Cpl. Wood has received several awards for service with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for Cadaver K9 calls for service. Chris is a FBI cadaver resource for the State of Florida, a member of NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) Team ADAM and FDLE CART, Orlando Region. He is an NCMEC/FBI cadaver Instructor and also holds an FDLE Instructor certification.

Dep. Fred Mendiola – Deputy Mendiola has been with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office since 2000 and a K9 Deputy since 2001 as a Bloodhound K9 Handler. Dep. Mendiola has been a Narcotics K9 Handler since 2005. He has received several awards for service with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office to include: Law Enforcement’s Medal of Valor, J. Edgar Hoover Award, Deputy of the Year for the State of Florida through the Florida Sheriff’s Association. He is a member of NCMEC Team ADAM and FDLE CART, Orlando Region.

Mickey Januszkiewicz – NAPWDA Master Trainer for Utility, Narcotics and Cadaver
Retired from Charleston Police Department, South Carolina
18 yrs. K9 Handler/Trainer/Supervisor with CPD
Member/VP of South Carolina Search Dogs with new dog
K9 Ruby – (stinkin’ labrador retriever) – HRD certified NAPWDA & NASAR

Kevin Johnston – 1987 – 2014 – Wilson, NC Police Department
1989 – 2013 – K9 Handler (worked 4 dogs – patrol/narc) Wilson, NC Police Department
1992 – 2002 – Region 2 President (NC/SC), U.S. Police Canine Association
1994 – 2014 – K9 Trainer, Wilson, NC Police Department
1996 – Date – General Instructor, NC Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission
2004 – 2012 – Region 2 Secretary-Treasurer, U.S. Police Canine Association
2009 – 2011 – National Vice-President Southeast, U.S. Police Canine Association
2011 – Date – National President, U.S. Police Canine Association
Nationally Certified Judge – patrol and detector dogs, U.S. Police Canine Association
Nationally Certified Trainer – Level 3, U.S. Police Canine Association

Gordon Deno – Gordon has been the Emergency Manager for Wilson County, NC since July 1993.  He has worked for Wilson County since 1984.  He has been involved in emergency services work for the last twenty-nine years including 911 dispatch, EMS, Fire Service, Hazardous Materials and Search and Rescue.  He is a NC Fire/Rescue instructor.  Gordon specializes in Incident Management and has worked on Incident Management Teams locally, statewide, and nationally including Hurricanes Charlie and Katrina.   For fourteen years, Gordon served citizens of NC as a SAR Tech with NC Search and Rescue Dog Association.  He was the team leader for the Central unit for four years.  He was a SAR Dog Handler for ten years.  Gordon and his border collie Duncan were operational in wilderness SAR and land/water HRD.  They responded to numerous incidents and assisted in locating multiple victims during their career.  Duncan passed away on 16 August 2010.  He was thirteen years old.  Gordon has continued to assist other handlers with training, teams with SAR dog evaluations, and jurisdictions with search management

Mac Morgan – Mac has been active in dog training since 1979, a retired police K9 Handler, Master Trainer for Sanford Police Department. Mac began training – handling Search & Rescue Canines in 1992. He served as President and director of training for the Mid-Atlantic Dog Association, President and Vice-President of the NC Search and Rescue Advisory Council; currently President of NCCERT (NC Canine Emergency Response Team, Inc.); Mac and his K9s have worked with Law Enforcement Agencies across NC and has been deployed across the southeastern US. Mac is an lead instructor, evaluator and certifier for the National Association for Search & Rescue for both people and canines and has instructed at numerous community colleges and various search and rescue seminars across the country.

NC CERT Presents Powerful Video About Search and Rescue

WENDELL NC – The North Carolina Canine Emergency Response Team (NC C.E.R.T.) has presented a new video about Search and Rescue.

This video, created and inspired by the members of NC CERT, is a small window into Search and Rescue. You’ll see smiles, you’ll see heartbreak, you’ll see pain and the euphoria of bringing someone home safe. No matter how painful, tragic or hard it is, we will always be there to serve you. From all of us at NC CERT….

This is why….

NC CERT and Beaufort County NC Holds 2015 SAREX in Washington, NC – CANCELLED FOR 2015


Beaufort County, NC and NC CERT presents it’s 15th annual Search and Rescue exercise SARX 2015.  Please see the attached documentation for registration and sign-up.

All teams are highly encouraged to attend as this exercise is as close to real life as it gets. If you have any questions, please make contact with one of the persons listed on the attached flyer.

Lodging will be provided onsite in the form of cabin bunkhouses. Tent camping is available in the area as well. For those of you who want to camp and are bringing an RV, please contact one of the persons listed on the flyer to make arrangements. No hookups are available for campers or RV’s. Attendees should check in before setting up camp.

We look forward to seeing you again this year if you’ve attended previously. If you have not attended previously, we look forward to meeting you and working with you. 

Americas Guardians PSMC Joins NC CERT in 2nd Annual Ride For A Cause

SANFORD NC – MARCH 14, 2015 — NC CERT would like to thank the folks of the American Guardians PSMC for supporting our team. Their support is so strong that they are holding their second annual Ride for a Cause in the name of NC CERT.

Attached are flyers with more information.   We ask that you share with any riders you know and please feel free to participate!!!  Our team members pay out of pocket to provide our services and your donations go a long way in helping us stay in operation.

Ride begins at Honda Suzuki of Sanford, 3128 S. Horner Blvd. Sanford, NC.  Registration starts at 8:30am – Please click on the Flyer links below….



2 Year Old Raleigh Boy Still Missing – Father Charged with Murder

(WRAL) RALEIGH NC – Investigators have arrested the parents of a missing 2-year-old boy, charging his father with murder and his mother with misdemeanor child abuse, Raleigh police said Thursday morning.

“Investigative developments overnight by Raleigh Police Department detectives have led the Tristan Blue missing-person case in a new direction,” spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a statement.

Steven Daniel Blue, 31, and Briana Loriel Dangerfield, 25, both of 5416 Portree Place, #1, Raleigh, were taken into custody Thursday morning. Blue was being held in the Wake County jail without bond; Dangerfield was jailed under a $100,000 bond.

Tristan’s body, however, has not been found, and police did not provide any other details about the case.