Typically when the police obtain probable cause to investigate an area with a search warrant, they bring special assistants with them that have been trained to sniff out certain items that can be considered damning evidence.
These special K-9 officers typically sniff out items such as narcotics, weapons and bombs. But nowadays, there is another type of evidence that can reveal all about someone's motives and convict them of a crime that much more easily.
Man's best friend will be taking on a special tech-specific task with a Utah police department. The Weber County Sheriff's Office has brought in a Black Labrador Retriever to sniff out electronic devices while they're doing searches. They have named the dog URL.
URL is one of nine certified Electronic Detection K-9's in the country. Officers are jokingly calling him Utah's first "porn dog" because he came from the same trainer that trained another Black Lab named Bear. Bear is known for playing a key role in former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle's arrest.
ED K-9's are trained to sniff out electronic storage devices like thumb drives, cellphones, tablets and other gadgets. With this special skill investigators will be able to find hidden child pornography, terrorism intelligence, financial crime information and any evidence hidden on electronic memory devices. People that don't want their devices found hide them in many different places that police officers might not think to check. That's when these specially trained canines are brought in to uncover the hidden devices.
URL is 16 months old and was rescued from an animal shelter when he was a puppy. Todd Jordan spent six months training him to find electronic devices on command. URL would be rewarded with a handful of food every time he found a hidden device after being commanded to Seek! Detective Cam Hartman is URL's handler and he also received special expert training. They will both have to be re-certified annually.
Officers say URL will not only be used out in the field on searches but also in their correctional facility to find electronic contraband. He obviously can not distinguish between legal and illegal material. Electronic Detection K-9's are trained to detect the unique chemical compounds found in certain electronic devices.
The department was able to bring in the Electronic Detection K-9 with funding from the Weber Metro Narcotics Strike Force. URL will serve the Northern Utah area and the Sheriff's Office will be responsible for his care and deployment.