Authorities hope a new tool can crackdown on cyber crime in the region, but this tool isn’t a high-tech device, instead he’s man’s best friend.
There are only about a dozen dogs across the entire United States that are trained to do what Kimo does.
His specialty? Sniffing out electronic devices and helping put predators behind bars.
“What he’s doing,” explained James Walstrom, “he’s locked on the scent, he’ll sit. That’s his alert.”
When Kimo sits, that means he has found something police want.
“Specifically most of these dogs are utilized in child pornography cases to find hidden thumb drives, SD cards, mirco sd cards that are sometimes missed by investigators.”
James Walstrom with Keystone K9 and Security says the yellow lab uses his trusty nose to smell a chemical found on circuit boards.
“Kimo is imprinted with that chemical smell, then that chemical was taken away and we went straight to the devices and then he was just detecting the electronic devices.”
The smaller the device,the fainter the smell, which means less of a chance that kimo will be able to find it.
Blair County First Assistant District Attorney Peter Weeks says dogs like Kimo are vital in discovering the evidence.
“Finding that data in many cases is going to be the difference between being able to file charges and prosecute and convict somebody versus not being able to file charges at all or having charges you aren’t able to get a conviction on.”
And once weeks can file the charges, the evidence will usually stand on it’s own.
“Anytime you have that type of evidence in addition to witness statements and witnesses who can testify, you know that it’s less likely you’ll have to put victims or witnesses on the stand” said Weeks. “You know that you’ll have corroborating evidence to the accounts that your witnesses and victims gave you.”
It’s this priceless nose that can sniff out the most unlikely hiding spots.
“This is actually a false bottom Pringles can. It actually has chips in the top of it and the bottom half screws off. There’s a little iPod and a thumb drive.”
Kimo’s eyes lock on to the spot where he detects the chemical odor.
Walstom says drug alert dogs are trained the same way, Kimo’s job is more intense.
“He will lock on to it like a dog will on a bird when he’s hunting. He’ll actually point to it and you saw sometimes he will freeze where he’s at. We want him to sit, because that’s his alert, but his initial reaction is to lock on to it and stare at it.”
Kimo, not just man’s best friend, but a valuable tool for prosecutors and law enforcement.
“Virtually any type of investigation involving computers this K9 will be able to assist in that,” said Weeks. “So it will be a great asset to Blair County and the surrounding areas.”
Kimo is the second electronic storage device dog in the entire state of Pennsylvania.
He is fully trained and ready to work wherever he’s called.