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These Days, Police Dogs Are Trained to Sniff Out Child Porn

Law enforcement gives scent dogs new targets: Hard drives, thumb drives, and flash drives.

 |  Jul 8th 2014  |   5 Contributions


Dogs are trained to sniff out contraband and explosives, but how about thumb drives, hard drives, and other electrical equipment? That's what law enforcement is doing to combat child porn traffickers on the East Coast, according to the Providence Journal. As those who trade child porn are known to carefully hide devices full of illegal images to avoid detection during search warrants, police are training dogs to find those devices.  

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Portrait of working police dog by Shutterstock.

A Labrador named Thoreau, a recent recruit by the Rhode Island state police, makes Rhode Island the second state in the nation to have a police dog trained to sniff out hard drives, thumb drives and other technological gadgets, specifically to locate child pornography. According to the Providence Journal, he received 22 weeks of training at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy. 

“If it has a memory card, he’ll sniff it out,” said Detective Adam Houston, Thoreau’s handler.

Thoreau has already earned his place on the force. In June, he located a thumb drive hidden four layers deep inside a tin box inside a metal cabinet. The drive contained child pornography, which allowed police to secure an arrest warrant. 

Police say child pornographers have been known to hide devices in ceiling tiles and even radios. 

Thoreau's handler, Houston, who lives with the dog, showed off his skills last month, according to the Providence Journal. He had the dog walk through a room containing desks and cabinets with hidden devices. The dog "furiously sniffed" the furniture, finding a hard drive in a Ziploc bag in the desk, and a flash drive and a thumb drive in separate drawers in a shelf. For his work, Thoreau got treats.

“This is how he eats every day,” joked Houston.

Via the Providence Journal

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