The Seattle Times reported today that the Seattle Police Department purchased an electronics-sniffing dog “trained to sniff out a chemical compound emitted from memory-storage devices like memory sticks and SD cards, and point them out to his handlers.”
The dog, a 2-year-old black Labrador Retriever named Bear, is credited with uncovering key evidence that led to the arrest of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogel on child pornography charges.
Although investigators seized multiple smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, laptops, CDs, memory cards and drives from Fogel’s home, they would have missed one critical piece of evidence without Bear’s help – a flash drive that Fogel had hidden that contained data that was crucial to the investigation.
According to theindychannel.com, Bear “has worked five investigations for the Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the one at Fogle’s Zionsville residence.”
SPD’s purchase of Bear is particularly notable because he is one of only four dogs country who has been specially trained to detect the smell of electronic storage devices.
The Times reported that Dennis Clark, the person who trained and sold Bear to Seattle police, said the dog “will work with SPD child-pornography detectives, sniffing out the same kinds of criminals he’s helped put behind bars with his trainer in Indiana.”
SPD didn’t release how much it paid for Bear but the Times noted that other dogs trained by Clark’s company are listed for sale for $3500-$7500.
Bear will arrive in Seattle next week. I hope he helps Seattle Police arrest lots of child pornographers.
Here’s a story about Bear an Indianapolis TV station ran after he searched Fogel’s house.