- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A St. Louis-area county’s police force now has a four-legged weapon in its fight against child pornography.

A specially trained yellow Labrador named Bonnie made debuted Thursday with her detective handler, Detective Brigid Oldani, at the St. Charles County Police Department, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1WaWukW ) reported.

The dog can detect the chemical odor that easily concealed electronic storage devices such as thumb drives or SD cards emit - something no machine or human being can do yet. It is then up to humans to decide whether the devices contain contraband.

Dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell has been used to find criminals, missing people, drugs, explosives or chemicals for arson. But Bonnie is among graduates of the newly formed Electronic Storage Detection Dog training program at the Connecticut State Police. It’s unclear how much St. Charles County paid for the dog, or the level of need for her ability.

Connecticut State Police have said forensic chemist Dr. Jack Hubbal isolated compounds that the dogs could track: Triphenylphosphine oxide, which surrounds the memory board in phones and computers, and Hydroxycyclohexyl phenyl ketone on DVD’s, CD’s and floppy disks.

The chemical imprint that electronic devices leave behind can cause dogs to alert to an irrelevant find, though investigators work around it and move on.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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