Search and Rescue Dog Team Training

Crime Scene Investigation for the Civilian K9 Handler


Forensic experts are frequently used in crime scene investigations to supplement the skills of a police department’s investigative staff. These may include K9 handlers, entomologists, pathologists, archeologists, and other people with specialized skills. The purpose of this search-and rescue-dog team training is to give civilian K9 handlers a basic understanding of how crime scene investigation works and how they fit into the crime scene investigation team.

During this course, you’ll see references to Edmund Locard or Locard’s “Principle of Exchange.” The essence of Locard’s principle is that as soon as you enter a search area, you change it in some way. No matter how careful you are, your presence has an effect.

K9 handlers and other specialists are asked to work in a variety of circumstances. These can range from search areas that are a shot in the dark – random areas that might have been available to potential suspects to areas that are or are, very likely, to be crime scenes.

  • Areas That Are a Good Fit in a Well-Developed Theory
  • Areas Where Evidence of a Crime Has Already Been Found

Searching any area will affect that area. There is always a balance between scene preservation and practicality.

Course Objectives

After successfully completing this course, the student should have a basic understanding of:

  • Crime Scene Security
  • Documentation
  • Evidence Collection
  • Chain of Custody
  • Crime Scene Preservation
  • Ethics


  • U.S Dept. of Homeland Security ICS-100 or Equivalent

For SARDUS Members

This course is FREE for SARDUS members. Please refer to your new member email for the link or contact us at Or, join now for $25 per year and you’ll be directed to the course site directly after payment through PayPal:

For Non-SARDUS Members

Please make a donation of an amount of your choice to help cover the costs of hosting this course. You will be directed to the site after your donation through Paypal has been made. Thank you!

Our Course Developers

Larry Barksdale is a retired sergeant with Lincoln Nebraska Police Department. He is currently a faculty member with the University of Nebraska Department of Forensic Science. Larry has taught this course to many law enforcement officers over the years. Larry also runs LEB Investigations.

John Beck is a SARDUS board member, and longtime human remains detection canine handler. John works extensively with law enforcement in his community on crime scenes and is a subject matter expert witness on cadaver canine search.

Our many thanks to Larry and John for their efforts to present this information in a way that satisfies NIMS requirements, as well as what law enforcement requires you to know. They donated their time and materials for this course, and it’s much appreciated!