JOLIET (WLS) -- There's a new dog in town and she's ready to get to work.
The Will County Sheriff's Office added a new member to its K-9 team this week who will be a big help in tracking down missing people with Alzheimer's and autism.
K-9 Elizabeth "Liz" is the county's first bloodhound specially trained to locate people by their individual scent.
"Our K9 Unit is a vital part of our department. The dogs are specifically trained to assist our officers with tools that cannot be matched by humans. The addition of Liz is a win-win situation. It allows families and caregivers to be better prepared in the event that a loved one goes missing and it assists our deputies when every second matters, in expediting search and recovery assignments. We are very excited to have Liz on board to assist with our at-risk residents in Will County," Sheriff Kelly said.
The 10-month-old's addition to the force is part of Sheriff Mike Kelley's push for a program that pre-collects items from at-risk people. The program will then safely store the Scent Evidence Preservation kits for up to 10 years.
"We call our kits, 'peace of mind in a jar'. As a former FBI Forensic Canine Operations Specialist and canine handler, I was constantly faced with the challenge of finding an effective scent article during active searches. The preservation kits have served that need," said Paul Coley, the founder and CEO of Scent Evidence K9.
Liz was named in honor of Elizabeth Smart after the young girl's abduction gained national attention. Smart is now a survivor and child safety advocate.
Liz will officially report for duty with her new handlers on Monday.
The sheriff's office said preservation kits will be distributed to at-risk adults and juveniles who live in Will County. Those who are interested may also pick a kit up at the Will County Sheriff's Office at 16911 W. Laraway Road in Joliet. You can also get more information at the Scent Evidence website.