Tech-Sniffing Dogs: the New Way Cops Are Using Canines to Fight Crime


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Tech-Sniffing Dogs: the New Way Cops Are Using Canines to Fight Crime

This adorable Lab helped bust Jared Fogle on child pornography-related charges.
Rachel Pick
New York, US

When the police and the FBI raided former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle's house, they had a secret weapon: something that could detect thumb drives, SD cards and other tiny, hidden tech devices in a matter of minutes.

That something was Bear, a lovable, slobbery black Lab who is only one of five dogs in the US trained to sniff out electronic media.

Much like dogs who can sniff out drugs, fugitives, and bombs, Bear smells the chemical components of electronic media, and will point them out to his handler for a food reward, NBC reports. SD cards and thumb drives hold gigabytes of information, but are so small and so easily hidden they could be overlooked in a human-led search. Dogs have about 40 times the number of olfactory receptors that humans do, so a trained dog paired with a smart human searcher is a formidable team.

Bear was trained over the course of only four months by Todd Jordan, a deputy fire chief from Indiana who rescued the dog. So far he's been instrumental in several investigations involving child pornography, but a dog trained to find electronic media could also be useful in terrorism-related investigations.

Jordan recently sold Bear to the Seattle police, but he plans to adopt and train more dogs specifically for this purpose. Dogs being rescued and given jobs hunting down bad guys sounds like a win-win to me.