FDLE welcomes first electronics detection dog to Tallahassee
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -The newest addition to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reporting for duty, hired for his specially trained nose. But what he’s searching for may surprise you.
Rocket is the city’s first Electronic Storage Detection canine, training to find all kinds of electronics, from cell phones to SD cards.
His first day on the job was November 15, and within the first week Rocket assisted on two search warrants. As the only dog trained for this kind of work in Tallahassee, special agents say he’s going to be an asset to local law enforcement.
As Rocket moves through the course turning over containers, the K-9 isn’t searching for kibble.
“Computers are here, the technology is here, it’s going to be used in anything. So I think it’s vital that we’re part of that solution,” said Keith Wilmer, Assistant Special Agent in Charge.
On Wednesday, FDLE introduced Rocket as the first ESD k-9. Wilmer says cyber crime is a primary focus for the agency, but devices can hold evidence for just about any crime.
“Fraud, terrorism, narcotics, investigations, child exploitations, sexual batteries, homicides, unfortunately the list goes on,” Wilmer said.
From cell phones and computers, to devices as small as an SD card or USB, Rocket is trained to find it.
During his first week at the agency, Rocket assisted on two search warrants tracking down evidence in a child pornography investigation.
“He did his job, and I was able to catch his cues on stuff that he had alerted on that I might have walked by had he not been there,” said Special Agent Aida Limongi.
Rocket will also be able to help other law enforcement agencies in the area as they conduct search warrants.
Limongi, a 15 year veteran of the FDLE and Rocket’s handler, says there’s a need for this in the community.
“Everybody has a cell phone and everybody has electronics,” Limongi said. “It’s in their best interest for us not to find it, so I just think the need is there.”
Rocket and his training was funded through a grant by the nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad. That grant will also fund keeping him, and assisting other agencies at no cost.
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