No one person or group of persons can be given sole credit for the advancement and evolution of the National Police Bloodhound Association.
Over the years, the National Police Bloodhound Association has become the most authoritative source of information pertaining to the use of the purebred bloodhound in the field of law enforcement. For many years the association published a quarterly issue of Nose News for its members. Nose News provides members with the latest in training information, seminar news and other updates as well as a summary of search reports submitted by the membership.
In October of 1962, Connecticut State Police Commissioner Leo J. Mulcahey called together representatives of police agencies in the northeastern states who were utilizing bloodhounds. This meeting resulted in the formation of the Eastern Police Bloodhound Association. During the ensuing years, the membership grew even more. As a result, in 1966, the name was changed to the National Police Bloodhound Association. The remainder of the 1960s saw a great interest in the use of bloodhounds and the membership expanded. An annual training school was established to teach handlers the necessary skills of mantrailing.
The 1970s saw the continuation of the training schools and each succeeding one seemed to outgrow the previous one. The “Cleopatra Big T. Award” was initiated by Bill Tolhurst. It was to be awarded to an outstanding dog that had made significant finds.
In 1970, the first Nose News newsletter was published.
In 1974, a manual, “Bloodhounds in Law Enforcement,” was written by Corporal Weldon Wood of the Charles County, Maryland Sheriff’s Department. This was the beginning of many such papers written by members of the National Police Bloodhound Association. This paper was utilized by many members and was disseminated to the F.B.I. field officers for their edification.
In 1975, our training school was filmed by the American Broadcasting Company and was shown on “A.M. America” narrated by Roger Caras.
In 1976, we experimented with frozen and unfrozen scent material that was six months old. Successful trails were run from this material. This led to the preservation of scent material for six years with successful trails run every year.
In 1977, James Earl Ray escaped from Brushy Mountain Prison in Tennessee. Members Bob Swabe and Brice Umstead were instrumental in the trailing and capture of the fugitive. That same year, the National Police Bloodhound Association’s “Pocket Training Manual,” which was co-authored by Weldon Wood and Bill Tolhurst. The training manual is out of print, no longer available.
In the late 1970s, a new format was used for the training school, utilizing classroom instruction as well as field work. This format, classroom and field work, is still in use today. Roger Titus picked up the duties of training administrator and a cadre of instructors was formed.
Throughout the 1980s, we experimented with blood and urine as scent material and found that they were excellent sources.
In 1981, K.I.N.D. Magazine, published for children by the Humane Society of the United States, featured three National Police Bloodhound Association members in an article dealing with the training of police bloodhounds. “P.M. Magazine” filmed our training sessions for a T.V. program that same year.
In 1983, National Police Bloodhound Association member Bill Grimm was inducted into the Police Hall of Fame.
The National Police Bloodhound Association received much publicity in the early 1980s with articles appearing in police magazines. Police Product News featured “Bloodhounds on the Right Track” with information contributed by Lieutenant Weldon Wood and Sergeant William Brown of the Charles County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Department. Law and Order magazine featured an article, “Bloodhounds and the Law,” with information and cases from Union County Sheriff’s Department, Florida.
Sadly, in 1985, member Roy Mardis of Lexington, Kentucky, was killed in the line of duty while trailing an escapee in a corn field with his bloodhound Amanda.
The National Police Bloodhound Association paid tribute to New York State Police and Connecticut State Police for 50 years of bloodhound use.
In 1987, we celebrated our 25th anniversary at our annual meeting in Cromwell, Connecticut, hosted by Andy Rebbman and the Connecticut State Police. This was a very elaborate event, many thanks to our hosts.
The 1990s were an exciting decade for the National Police Bloodhound Association. To our delight, we had people from New Zealand, Denmark, and Sweden, along with our regular members from Canada attend our training seminars in Grantsville, Maryland. We became even more wide-spread on an international level.
In 1992, “National Geographic” filmed our training seminar in Grantsville, Maryland. It was shown nationwide over many television stations.
We extended our training seminars by traveling to Jacksonville, Florida Department of Correction, and Sandy, Utah Department of Correction. Several of our members traveled to other agencies to assist in training.
The individual handouts for classroom topics were compiled into the currently published, spiral bound edition of the “Official Training Manual” which is used by members and training committee instructors. Several instructors expanded on the training materials and developed PowerPoint® presentations as an aid to standardize classroom presentations.
At the turn of the 21st century, we were still going strong and had moved our training seminar from Grantsville, Maryland, to Salamanca, New York. Our membership and requests for attendance had grown to such a degree that we had to put a limit on the number that we could accommodate.
Currently, we have established a winter training seminar in Greensboro, North Carolina, hosted by the Greensboro Police Department. This seminar provides a training venue for our members and prospective members from the Deep South who find it difficult to travel to New York.
We had another person from New Zealand attend our training seminar in Salamanca, New York, and document much of the training. The films have been donated to us and are to be used for our edification.
The National Police Bloodhound Association has and will continue to train handlers and dogs in the field of mantrailing. We will always hold them to the high standards set by this organization for the benefit of mankind.
—Written by retired Lieutenant Weldon L. Wood