Speed Reads

digital dogs

Police dogs trained to sniff out electronic devices storing child porn, other illegal items

Selma, a black Labrador, and Thoreau, a golden Labrador, may have flunked out of guide dog school, but they've found their calling as crime fighters.

The pair couldn't cut it in New York City's Guiding Eyes for the Blind program, so instead they have been trained to help investigators find electronic devices that might store things like child pornography or fake documents, Bloomberg reports.

Jack Hubball, a forensic science expert who has helped train dogs to sniff out drugs and bombs, took apart different parts of electronic storage devices, like circuit boards and hard disks, and found one common chemical (which authorities won't name). Selma and Thoreau then learned how to sniff out laptops, flash drives, digital cameras, and memory cards, and were trained to find that chemical scent on clothes, metal boxes, concrete blocks, and people's hands.

Selma has participated in more than 50 search warrants since October 2013, and has found a memory card hidden in a sewing machine drawer, fraudulent documents, child pornography, and software that later was able to identify the weapons used in a homicide. "Selma has found many devices such as digital cameras with flash cards, USB drives, and external drives," says Detective George Jupin of the Connecticut State Police's Computer Crimes Unit. "The evidence she finds has furthered investigations."