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Davis Journal

Specialized K9 uses his nose to sniff out electronics

Dec 09, 2021 09:20AM ● By Becky Ginos

The department’s newest K9 was donated by Operation Underground Railroad. Photos by Becky Ginos

WOODS CROSS—The Woods Cross Police Department’s newest member is using his nose to sniff out crime. K9 Flash (for flash drive) is one of only two dogs in the state that are trained to detect electronics such as USBs, cellphones, hard drives or other devices that criminals hide information on.

“It’s mostly child pornography and exploitation that they store on devices,” said Flash’s handler Det. Kimberly Burton. “Also in white collar crimes where they have documents stored with information we need to pull off of there.”

The 2-year-old lab started out training as a seeing-eye dog, said Burton. “But he was too hyper so he became a working dog and went on to become an electronic storage detection dog.” 

Flash is trained to sniff out TPPO, a chemical used in the manufacturing of small electronics, she said. “He only eats when he trains. Four to five times a day I hide devices anywhere I can and he goes around and finds them for me and then he gets to eat. It is food driven, that’s what makes labs good working dogs.”

There was definitely an immediate connection, Burton said. “We were paired together and the trainers said they’d never seen a bond like that before. We got the highest score out of the whole class. He hasn’t left my side since we met. He’s been with me every second.”

Operation Underground Railroad donated Flash to the department, she said. “They paid for all of the training, supplies and for me to go back to Indiana to train with him. They’ll pay for everything going forward too. We’re really grateful. Dogs aren’t cheap.”

With Flash being so specialized and one of only two dogs in Utah, Burton said they want to help other agencies with their investigations. “Anytime we can help we’re willing to do that.”

Flash is also an emotional support dog. “He’s not a bite dog,” she said. “He loves people. If we’re going on a search warrant sometimes there are kids at the home who are scared and he can comfort them as well as law enforcement.”

He also gives support to the department. “We’ll be sitting in my office together and when he hears the beep he’ll greet the officer coming in the door,” Burton said. “They’re so happy to see him. It’s a good break for the officers after they’ve been handling the tough calls on the street.”

It’s been fun to have him, Burton said. “He’s changed the mood of the whole office. I know it’s only going to get better with him.”