Documentary about State Police’s K-9 team premieres in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A documentary, titled “Searchdog,” about Rhode Island State Police’s four-legged finest, premiered in Providence on Thursday.

The documentary follows Sergeant Matthew Zarella who rehabilitates dogs in shelters that are deemed “unadoptable” and trains them to be search and rescue dogs.

“He was really instrumental in starting this program with the state police to bring in rescue dogs into police work and train them from basically pound dogs to become fine-tuned search and rescue machine,” Rhode Island State Police K-9 Coordinator, Corporal Scott Carlsten, said.

Carlsten and his previous K-9 dog, Bear, were featured in the documentary as well. He says the program continues to be successful.

Learn more about Searchdog »

“Two canines that are in the film ended up going out and finding this 19-year-old girl that had been out in the woods for over two days and was found semi-conscious in the woods; these dogs that were rescued ended up saving this 19-year-old’s life,” Carlsten said.

Carlsten says “Searchdog” allows the public to see how important these dogs are to police.

“Seeing what we do on a daily basis kind of shown to the public, it helps bridge the gap between the public and police which these days is very essential to bring us together,” Carlsten said.

The film director says they are planning more Rhode Island and New England screenings of the documentary.