The Bellevue Police Department has welcomed a new officer who specializes in sniffing through electronic storage devices and begging for treats.
Quinn, the 2-year-old black Labrador, began work Nov. 18. She was purchased with funds from an anonymous donor for $10,000.
As opposed to chasing and finding suspects like her K-9 colleagues, Quinn’s tasks will focus on the electronic side of crimes, said Detective Roy Howell, Quinn’s handler.
“Her primary responsibility is to help us search for electronic devices — anything from a SIM card, micro SD card, USB drive, hard drives, tablets or cellphones,” he said.
These K-9’s are trained at Jordan Detection K9 in Greenfield, Ind., ran by Todd Jordan.
Jordan is well-known for training Bear, a K-9 who helped with the Jared Fogle child pornography case in 2015.
Electronic storage device K-9 officers search for triphenylphosphine oxide, a chemical that is found in all electronic storage devices.
“It’s a very minute odor — it’s a lot tougher for these dogs to find this stuff,” Howell said. “That odor is so fine that when they’re done working, they’re kind of exhausted.”
Howell said these types of K-9 officers are “very new” to police departments, and are very useful during harder cases.
“Humans, when we’re looking for something as small as a USB, we never know and it’s easy for us to pass up,” he said.
“The suspects know exactly where to get their stuff, we don’t. With that odor, she can detect it and not leave a victim behind.”
Howell, who’s part of the Nebraska Internet Crimes Against Children and the Homeland Security Child Exploitation Task Force, said Quinn’s primary duties will focus on child exploitation cases, though she will work on homicide cases, robberies and other crimes.
Quinn is the first of her kind in Nebraska, according to a news release from the department.
After four months of training, Quinn was assigned to Howell to basically “train” Howell and show what she’s capable of doing.
“The last two weeks were for me and her to get accustomed to each other, bonding between each other, friendship and me learning her queues,” he said.
When it comes to work and training, Quinn, being a food-reward dog, will be given her two to three meals a day after completing her duties.
“I have to set up a room and train her seven days a week, three times a day,” Howell said.
Unlike the traditional K-9’s, Quinn is able to roam around and greet other BPD employees, as well as have play and family time after work.
Howell said though they’ve only been working with each other a short time, he and Quinn have bonded well.
“She’s a hard worker and she tries hard to please you when she’s working,” Howell said.