Approximately 4000 Israelis are declared 'missing persons' annually. The Israel Dog Unit is a household name throughout Israel in the efforts to see these people found and returned safely to their homes.
When a missing person is first reported, the report makes its way through the IDU's call center, where our operators assess the risk factors and classify the case based on the degree to which the missing person is believed to be in danger. Should the risk be high enough, our search teams are mobilized, and the broad array of tools we use to find missing people goes into action. Social media, working dogs, ATVs, UAVs, built-for-purpose search software, and more are all brought to bear on the case until the subject is found. This can and has meant stays of days at a time in the field while search efforts are underway, and our fleet of mobile command centers and dormitories is on continual standby for just such an occasion.
Finding the subject is, of course, of paramount importance, but our job doesn't end there. Missing persons are frequently found in adverse conditions, having suffered debilitating injuries, gotten lost or stuck while touring Israel, or having lost mental coherency. Our teams go with the specialist gear and training needed to extract individuals from these situations and coordinate with other official services to ensure that the incident is ended as safely and swiftly as possible.
Our search efforts can continue well after it is assumed that the missing person is deceased. The IDU maintains dogs specially trained to locate exclusively human remains for this purpose. Should any be found, the case is handled by our senior staff to ensure the deceased is properly reported to the authorities and given the respectful burial they deserve.