Police Are Training Canines to Sniff Out Electronics

Police Are Training Canines to Sniff Out Electronics

Strong nosed K-9s help police sniff out electronics.

Police departments in the United States are training canines to use their excellent sniffing skills to find electronics such as thumb drives and mobile phones. According to a report by CNET, police train dogs to associate food with locating the faint chemical smell of electronic devices.

The practice is a lesser known use for canines across the country. One of the biggest cases to involve a dog sniffing out an electronic device was in 2015 when a Labrador retriever named Bear uncovered a man's flash drive that contained child pornography, which helped make the case for the man's conviction.

The training was kept secret for years so that authorities could catch unsuspecting criminals without running into complications and so that they could be sure the dogs weren't making mistakes. A K-9 instructor for the Connecticut State Police said that out of every 50 dogs tested, only one usually has a strong enough nose to identify the weak scent of electronics.  

The instructor explained that electronics are harder to sniff out than bombs, drugs, humans or inflammable liquids. Labrador retrievers tend to have the required snout for the job. These canines are called electronic storage detection (ESD) dogs.

ESD dogs can find SIM cards that have a log of phone calls, find friends' iPhones to replace the Apple feature, or even identify surveillance cameras in odd places like a coat hook.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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