Three K9 SAR teams from SC Search & Rescue Dog Association achieve national certifications

May 7, 2018

Three K9 SAR teams of the South Carolina Search & Rescue Dog Association (SCSARDA), a non-profit, all-volunteer professional search and rescue team dedicated to finding missing people with highly trained search dogs, have attained national certifications from the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). Michel Galliot with K9 Shadow and Marion Tisdale with K9 Maya received certification in SAR area search; Nancy Jocoy with K9 Beau received certification in cadaver detection. NAPWDA specializes in the development, improvement, training and certification of police work dogs and assists in certifying working dog teams on various all-volunteer and other teams.

Handler Galliot with German Shepherd K9 Shadow and handler Tisdale with German Shepherd mix K9 Maya passed the search and rescue area search test which includes a dog searching an area while off-leash, finding, and alerting back to handler on a hidden subject.

Handler Jocoy with German Shepherd K9 Beau passed the cadaver detection certification test, which included searches for human remains in 12 different scenarios in six areas, including rubble (simulating a collapsed building), vehicles, water, open wilderness, building, and buried. Area search and cadaver detection tests also require NAPWDA police obedience certification, which includes off-leash heeling, voice and hand signal commands, and emergency down. K9 Beau has achieved six NAPWDA cadaver detection certifications; K9s Maya and Shadow achieved their first NAPWDA SAR area search certification.

Galliot, the owner of GALTEX Inc., a small international niche apparel company, and Jocoy, a senior quality engineer with a large non-profit, live in Simpsonville, SC. Tisdale, the owner of Spartan Graphics, a graphic printing and signage company, lives in Spartanburg, SC; he holds an Emergency Medical Responder certification. Galliot, Jocoy, and Tisdale all hold the NASAR SAR Tech II certification. Team members also take coursework in lost person behavior, managing the land search operation, and other advanced SAR courses. All SCSARDA members take Incident Command System (ICS) 100, 200, 700, 800, a Fundamentals of Search and Rescue class, CPR, and First Aid.

“We take a lot of satisfaction in being able to offer emergency services agencies a variety of talented K9 SAR teams for missing person searches,” said Maria Pellegrino, President of SCSARDA. “Our K9 SAR teams include area search, for searching wilderness areas in systematic sweeps while off-leash; trailing, for finding direction of travel and hasty searches of trails and paths; and human remains detection on land or water.”

“After our K9 teams have achieved our stringent internal team standards, we encourage them to pursue national certification. It is always helpful to have an experienced, outside eye to observe and assess our K9 teams in the field. That is what NAPWDA’s experienced Master Trainers offer our K9 teams, and we are very grateful to Neil Raymond, retired sergeant and K9 trainer in the Massachusetts State Police, and Sgt. C. R. (Rusty) Jones of the NC State Highway Patrol for their expertise during the latest NAPWDA certifications. All of our operational K9 teams have certified with NAPWDA.”


The South Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association (SCSARDA) is an all-volunteer professional search and rescue team with highly trained search dogs dedicated to helping find those who are lost, from children to hikers to drowning victims to those with Alzheimer’s. Founded in 2002, SCSARDA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which serves as a specialized resource for emergency services agencies. We respond to requests from emergency services agencies on a 24/7 basis and our services are provided entirely free of charge. For more information on SCSARDA visit or like