Meet Charlie: Electronic-detection K9 is a key weapon in fight against child predators
PHILADEPHIA — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan introduced the newest member of the District Attorney’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Pennsylvania Task Force.
Charlie, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever, is the first and only electronic-detection forensic K9 in Pennsylvania. She was introduced to the community Wednesday during a suburban Philadelphia demonstration.
As an electronic-detection K9, Charlie has been trained to track the distinct chemical smell of small electronics that humans are not able to detect. Her unique abilities allow her to pinpoint the exact location of electronic devices and locations where electronics were located previously. Charlie is in the courthouse daily and enlists her skills by joining ICAC detectives during their investigations and the execution of warrants.
Following a press conference on Sept. 13, a demonstration was held when Charlie showed off her unique skills by successfully locating a flash-drive hidden by detectives in a meeting room earlier in the day. For her efforts, she was awarded with a round of applause and her favorite toy, a green tennis ball.
In many of the cases the ICAC investigates, the evidence often includes pornographic photos of children which are located on storage devices and drives. As technology devices become smaller in size, criminals are better able to hide evidence of their crimes and are creative in concealing incriminating photos. In addition to tablets and laptops, Charlie can find a variety of small electronics including hard-drives and micro-SD cards.
“Charlie is a great addition to our ICAC team in their daily efforts to bring predators to justice,” said Whelan. “In Delaware County, we are constantly looking at how we can advance our abilities and forensic capabilities to catch predators. Amazingly, Charlie can find elements of a crime that even the most seasoned investigator can miss, which are essential for prosecution.”