The SA SES Dog Operations Unit (DOU) assists the SA Police in searches for lost or missing people within South Australia. The DOU uses area search dogs, who work off lead and away from their handler.
- Land Search Operations
Adelaide Area (Monday 7pm and Saturday 8am). - Riverland (Thursday 6.30pm).
To contact this unit, fill out our Contact us form and include the name of the SES Unit that you would like to contact, in your message.
PO Box 127 KENSINGTON PARK SA 5068
Fill out the volunteer registration form for information on volunteering opportunities available near you.
The DOU has two hubs in the following areas.
- Adelaide Metropolitan area (based out of Norwood)
- Riverland (based out of Loxton).
Members within the unit participate in one of three roles:
- Dog handler: a person who conducts the search for a lost or missing person using their own dog as a search dog.
- Second: a person who works side-by-side with the dog handler and undertakes duties including but not limited to communication and navigation.
- Missing person: a ‘dog’ body – someone for the dogs to find.
Becoming a member – what we are looking for
Handler or second:
- Over 18 years of age
- Need to be active and fit i.e. able to walk 5km over undulating terrain with a pack containing all essential gear for yourself and your dog
- Keen to work with dogs and learn new skills
- As a handler, you will bring your own dog into the unit and must be prepared to commit to the responsibilities of exercising and training your dog in obedience, agility and search.
- Be committed to attend at least 85% of training sessions
- Must have flexibility with your availability for search deployments
- Must be a team player
Dog pre-entry requirements
Outlined below is a summary of the pre-entry requirements your dog must meet prior to applying:
- Dog details
- Minimum of 12-18 months up to 6 years of age*
- Must be desexed prior to commencing first day of training
- High play drive / active dog
- Loose lead walking – dog walks on a loose lead without pulling
- Sit – dog sits close to handler
- Recall – ability to recall your dog from at least 50m out of sight
- Crate – dog able to enter/exit a crate (in vehicle) without hesitation
- Dog collection – dog is able to be collected by another person while being tied up
- Able to weave between other dogs without reactivity
- Confident with interactions with other dogs and people
- Displays no reactivity towards other dogs or people
- Fit for task
- Dog is overall fit and healthy
- Ability to walk over a variety of terrain and textures
*note the outer limit of the dogs age may be increased as agreed with the Unit Manager and Handler based on previous experience and health of the dog.