Nearly a decade ago, a police team in Connecticut wondered about training dogs to hunt for electronic devices.
Police worked with a scientific researcher who devoted 6 months to examining a buffet of hardware devices in the hopes of isolating a common chemical that dogs would be able to detect.
“The common denominator? A circuit board.” As it turns out, device circuit boards are manufactured using a compound known as triphenylphosphine oxide, or TTPO.
In 2012, the first dogs were trained detect TPPO, and four years later, another set of dogs graduated from the training program.
“The biggest criteria are: Are you brave? Are you energetic? Do you like food?” notes their trainer, Kerry Halligan. The dogs receive food rewards every time that they find a device, and for that reason, all doggie participants are Labradors, a breed known for having a large appetite.
Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) dogs help out with a range of cases, from homicides to cybercrime. “This program has absolutely turned up evidence that would have been missed or overlooked,” said Detective George Jupin, of the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
“In the short time she’s been with us, Harley [an ESD dog] has no doubt won the hearts and respect of many members of the FBI’s New York Field Office,” FBI Special Agent Aristedes Mahairas reported to CBS.
Someday, the dogs may be able to play a role in preventing and detecting corporate espionage. A CEO of a high tech company has even expressed interest in hosting one at home.
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