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By GCN Staff

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Dogs help police detect electronic devices

State Police enlist drive-sniffing dogs

Rhode Island state police have a new nose for sniffing out hidden drives they suspect may contain child pornography. Thoreau, a golden retriever, has been trained to find hard drives, thumb drives and other tech devices, according to a report in the Providence Journal.

The dog assisted in its first search in June by pinpointing a thumb drive hidden four layers deep in a tin box inside a metal cabinet. That discovery led the police to secure an arrest warrant, the paper said.

Detection dogs are used extensively by police to sniff out drugs, weapons and even cadavers.  In some state correctional facilities, the dogs have been used to detect contraband cellphones.

The electronics-detecting dogs can distinguish between a television and a hard drive, but not an iPad or computer and a hard drive, according to Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Vance, who spoke to Gizmodo. And of course, they can’t detect the content of the information stored on the device.  Additionally, because the dogs can’t tell the difference between one small electronic from another, Vance said, they’re usually used in confined spaces.  

Connecticut and Rhode Island are reportedly the only two states that use dogs to sniff out computer memory during searches, according to the Journal.  Thoreau's special training took more than 5 months at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy.

Posted by GCN Staff on Jul 08, 2014 at 7:48 AM


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