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Dunedin SAR Training Exercise in South Dunedin

Dunedin SAR Training Exercise in South Dunedin

A significant search and rescue training operation will take place in South Dunedin this weekend, based on the case of missing woman Denise Potter.

The training exercise aims to upskill Southern District search teams and will involve more than 60 people.

The Denise Potter case has remained open since the 54-year-old was reported missing from her home on 30 March, 2015.

She has never been found.

Dunedin Police SAR Coordinator Sergeant Nathan White says that thanks to Denise's family, the searchers are able to use her case as the basis of this training exercise.

“I’d like to acknowledge Denise’s family, in particular her husband and their children, for consenting to us using this search as a learning tool.

We know that Denise is still at the forefront of their minds and that this operation may stir up some emotions for them.”

Police staff, LandSAR volunteers and Surf Life Saving members will receiving training in urban land searching.

“It is vital that our Search and Rescue teams are able to operate in all environments," says Sergeant White.

“Surf Life Saving volunteers are often called upon to assist with our SAR operations and, although a marine search is not anticipated, we’ll be incorporating a water rescue component into this training.”

As well as teaching and refreshing urban search skills, the operational objectives are focussed on risk management, volunteer searcher management and, following on from last year’s Stewart Island exercise, incident management using SARTrack technology.

SARTrack involves connecting a live transmitter to each team of searchers, enabling their location to be reviewed and logged by the coordinator and other teams.

The exercise will begin on Friday evening, with teams focussed on planning the search.

The main part of the exercise will commence on Saturday at 8am, ending at approximately 5.30pm that day.

Sergeant White says residents should expect a reasonable Police and Search and Rescue presence in the South Dunedin area.

“We will be searching the same areas that were assessed in the weeks following her disappearance and it is possible new information may come to light.

If that is the case, then each piece of information would be reviewed, assessed and treated accordingly.

“Our presence might cause people to remember something that may be of use, and obviously we want to know anything and everything that could help to find closure for Denise’s family.”


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