Electronics-sniffing police dog used to combat child pornography

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- Will County authorities are using a dog trained to sniff out hidden electronics to catch people suspected of manufacturing or distributing child porn.

Cache, a 2-year-old black Labrador, is the only high-tech police dog in the Chicago area.

Baked into electronic devices - both big and small -- is a proprietary chemical that a dog can be trained to identify. The dog's name refers to the collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden place.

Megan Brooks, chief investigator for Will County's Crimes Against Children Unit, works with Cache in an office space sprinkled with hidden electronics. For a food reward, Cache sniffs out material investigators often might miss.

Brooks parcels out six pouches of food a day -- only when the job is done right -- the fulcrum of the training regimen the pair have been working on for two months.

"I think it makes us a better team because we're together all the time. And what I see he sees, and what he sees I see. I just don't smell what he smells," Brooks said.

Brooks was initially doubtful of Cache's skill -- until she him home for the weekend.

"He was able to find my daughter's iPhone which she had misplaced and hadn't been able to find for two days so it was at that point that the light bulb popped on and I said, "This is really cool. This dog can do it and I couldn't believe it," Brooks said.

Cache's stablemate, named Bear, was instrumental in the child porn prosecution of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle. In a special green investigation room to help officers who have to view horrible images, State's Attorney James Glasgow said the $10,500 cost of the dog, plus training and equipment such as a sports-utility vehicle, was well spent.

"One of my assistants showed me the images and it was a young child and an adult and it was like it was horrifying," Glasgow said. "I don't want that image in my head."

Glasgow said the big challenge is the volume.

"He is certainly going to serve as a useful tool in helping us find stuff we would either overlook or miss," Brooks said.

Glasgow said he will make the dog available to other law enforcement on request.
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