BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — The newest four-legged member of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office joined the force Thursday, and he‘s one of the first of his kind.
Sata is the Harford County Sheriff’s newest K9 with a unique job title.
He’s an electronic storage detection dog. He can sniff out phones, hard drives and flash drives
“Any type of devices that would have storage will emit an odor that the dog is able to detect,” Detective Carey Gerres, of the Harford County Sheriff’s Department, said.
Meet Sata! Sata is the newest K9 member of the HCSO family, and he's extra special! He is the first Electronic Storage Detection K9 in the State of MD!
Sata is specifically trained to search out electronic media storage devices, such as cell phones and flash drives! pic.twitter.com/vSVOUphInp
— Harford Sheriff (@Harford_Sheriff) May 21, 2020
Detective Gerres works with Sata and is assigned to the Internet Crimes against Children Unit.
The team is another tool that the Harford County Sheriff’s Office can use when looking for child pornography during search warrants.
“People that are downloading, sharing, producing child pornography… they happen to be collectors,” Detective Gerres said. “So they’ll save those images and they’ll put them on flash drives.”
Electronic storage detection dogs were instrumental in the investigation of Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle, who was sentenced to prison in 2015 for having sex with minors.
A K9 named Bear detected a hidden flash drive in Fogle’s home.
“I think that’s kind of what thrusted it into more popularity and the understanding for the need for that,” Detective Gerres said.
Sata could also help deputies save time when investigating these cases.
“You have thumb drives that can be disguised as cartoon characters,” Detective Gerres said. “But it still has the same components that will make it so that he’s able to detect so it’s going to cut down on our time for searching for sure”
This is Sata’s first week on the job and he’ll be working throughout the county to help the sheriff protect children.
“Sata is the first one in Maryland to actually be doing this, so we’re really really excited that we were able to do it,” Gerres said.