Sniffer dogs have been used to detect drugs and explosives for years, but now Delaware police have a new type of K-9 – one trained to sniff out hard drives and electronic storage devices.
The doggy detective, a two-year-old female Labrador retriever named Charlie, has been trained to detect the chemicals used in the manufacturing of hard drives, DVDs and memory cards. As a reward for a successful detection, Charlie gets some play time with her favorite toy – a tennis ball.
“The trainer told me he looks for dogs that have a very high play drive,” Nat Evans, a forensic analyst with the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division and Charlie’s handler, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Meaning they want to go out, they want to play, they want to find – you know, her incentive is, ‘I find the smell, I get my toy’.”
The canine cost the police $10,600 after she had been trained, and her nose was good enough to find a microSD card that had been hidden under a carpet. The dog further demonstrated her prowess at a press conference on Wednesday.
There are only about 20 dogs trained to seek out electronics in the US, but they have proved effective. When police searched the home of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle looking for child abuse images they had no luck, but a sniffer dog found a hidden hard drive that netted Fogle over 15 years in prison.
When not working with the Internet Crimes Against Children Pennsylvania Task Force, Charlie lodges with her handler, doubling as the family pet. ®