NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – When a person who is considered endangered goes missing in Middlesex County, a group of emergency responders is activated to help find the person in question, including a duo that knows where to look better than any police officer or firefighter.
Joker and Aleck are bloodhounds that make up the Middlesex Canine Search and Rescue Team. They are single-purpose scent dogs trained to track human scent and are utilized in search operations throughout Middlesex County.
The team, an important and effective tool in locating missing adults and children in Middlesex County, is now sponsored by Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County.
The bloodhounds are owned and trained by South Plainfield residents Michael and Debbie Campbell, who are volunteers dedicated to public safety and service.
Michael Campbell is a captain with the New Market Fire Department in Piscataway and is a township employee. He also serves as a squad captain for the Urban Search and Rescue Team under the direction of the Middlesex County Fire Marshal’s Office.
By incorporating the dogs under its organization, Crime Stoppers is further committing to its goal of promoting public safety in Middlesex County.
A number of law enforcement agencies including the New Brunswick Police Department, have pledged to help finance the operation of the canine unit.
Police officers also offer praise for the canine unit’s numerous successes over the years.
“When a person goes missing, be it a child or an adult, time is of the essence when it comes to locating and reuniting that individual with loved ones,” said Anthony Caputo, chairman of the Crime Stoppers board.
“The Middlesex County Canine Search and Rescue Team is an integral part of that process,” he said. “The New Brunswick Police Department, along with Crime Stoppers, is proud to be a supporter and contributor to such a worthy endeavor.”
Since 2013, the canine unit has assisted the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Missing Person and Child Abduction Response teams in more than 50 investigations involving missing and endangered adults and children, including at-risk children, autistic children and adults suffering from cognitive impairments.
“The use of the bloodhounds has been a valuable asset to our municipal police agencies during the investigation of missing endangered adults and children,” Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said.
“These incredible canines and their handlers have proven themselves on multiple occasions,” he said. “They make an excellent addition to the Crime Stoppers team. I thank the board for all of its work, especially for supporting the efforts of the Campbells and widening the capabilities of the Crime Stoppers program to promote public safety in Middlesex County."
Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County provides assistance to law enforcement agencies by taking anonymous information about crimes in exchange for cash rewards.
To learn more about Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County, please visit www.middlesextips.com.