Criminal Justice

Drug Dogs, But for Porn

URL the Labrador works with the Weber County Sheriff's Office to sniff out electronic storage devices.

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Weber County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

The war on sex work continues to echo the war on drugs in wilder and weirder ways. The latest law-enforcement stunt to fall into this category: Utah's "porn dog." The black Labrador is employed by the Weber County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) not to sniff out marijuana and meth but electronic storage devices. His name is URL. 

URL is "Utah's first Electronic Detection K-9, or what some may jokingly refer to as Utah's first 'porn dog,'" said the sheriff's office in a Facebook statement. "He is only one of nine certified ED K-9s in the country, and the only one in the western states region. URL comes from the same trainer as Bear, the ED K-9 who played a key role in the arrest of Subway pitchman, Jared Fogle."

Electronic detection K-9s are trained to sniff out devices such as cellphones, thumb drives, SIM cards, tablets, and external hard drives. Specifically, the dogs are trained to detect certain chemical compounds they contain. 

"Whether it's child porn, terrorism intelligence, narcotics or financial crimes information, URL has the ability to find evidence hidden on basically any electronic memory device," according to WCSO, which will use the dog for both criminal investigations and "to seek out contraband such as cell phones" at the local jail. 

When questioned on Facebook about why the county needed a "porn dog," WCSO responded, "Although he is jokingly referred to as a 'porn dog,' that is not what he is detecting." In a later comment, the sheriff's office said that URL's primary function will be "helping to find electronic storage devices that have been hidden or concealed." 

URL is considered "a search tool and will not be used to establish probable cause to obtain a search warrant," the department stated in response to one Facebook comment. "He will only be used after investigators have secured and executed a search warrant based upon traditional investigative means. He would never be used on a 'non-warranted search.' The exception would be our correctional facility where he will be brought in to search for contraband such as cell phones. Different rules apply there as far as the 4th amendment." 

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40 responses to “Drug Dogs, But for Porn

  1. URL is considered “a search tool and will not be used to establish probable cause to obtain a search warrant,” the department stated in response to one Facebook comment. “He will only be used after investigators have secured and executed a search warrant based upon traditional investigative means. He would never be used on a ‘non-warranted search.’

    Is it too early to call bullshit? Because I’m calling bullshit.

    1. Nope. Not too early at all. Every cop dog is a probably cause machine.

      1. HELP-HELP-HELP, won’t someone please give me some good advice?!!? I have a most EXCELLENT tax-money-saving idea that I’d like to put in to the Departments of Our Heroic Protectors in Government Almighty all across the land, and I just don’t know WHERE to submit my brilliant money-saving idea; PLEASE help. Idea summary: REAL drug-sniffing dogs are expensive to train, feed, house, and transport. EFFIGY dogs (think sock-puppet-doggie on officer’s hand) would be FAR less expensive! Officer waves sock-puppet-effigy-dog slowly over car, says wuff-wuff-wuff quietly and softly, then reaches trunk of car, goes WOOF-WOOF-WOOF loudly and urgently, now the car can be searched! Problem solved, cost-effectively! Woo-Hoo!!! ? Now? HOW do we spread this most excellent idea? Please advise? This excellent idea brought to you by the Church of Scienfoology, see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/ ?

    2. No, was going to do that, too.

      Also, I’m highly suspicious of the dog’s ability to detect electronic devices of widely varying types. I think the way this will really work is the police will tell the suspect that they have a “electronics detection” dog and if the suspect becomes nervous they will give the secret signal to make the dog “alert.”

      Specifically, the dogs are trained to detect certain chemical compounds they contain.

      Calling bullshit on that, too. I’d like to see a list of those compounds, and what electronic devices each is associated with. Then cross-reference those compounds with their other commercial applications.

      1. This country is jammed to the gills with electronics. Every car will generate a hit. Every cell phone, tablet, wifi enabled gizmo, you name it.

        And that assumes that the dog actually can detect electronic devices.

        What a scam.

        1. We have trained this dog to detect paper, obviously paper can only mean a stash of back issues of Hustler.

          In what dystopian universe is the ability to find basic media (with unknown content) give you probable cause?

        2. And a lot of those car electronics are arund the engine, getting nice and toasty and emitting all sorts of extra good vapors. So this dog must only alert on *cold* vapors. Quite impressive.

        3. And you know what a bunch of those gizmos will have on them? Evidence of the cops breaking laws. How convenient that this starts to legitimize the taking of any electronic device without any actual reason other than the dog responded to signals that his handler wants to steal something from someone.

      2. I think the way this will really work is the police will tell the suspect that they have a “electronics detection” dog and if the suspect becomes nervous they will give the secret signal to make the dog “alert.”

        Not to mention that the usual drug tricks (should) still apply. Sealing it in a condom and storing at the bottom of your nearest toilet tank should render it undetectable by smell.

    3. I don’t know about calling bullshit, but I laughed out loud. As did the cop, no doubt, as he was writing the post.

    4. I don’t know, in this case I can’t think of too many scenarios where a dog sniffing out the presence of a legal device would generate probable cause. Maybe for someone already on a sex offender registry?

  2. That’s not a “porn dog”, mate!

    This is a porn dog!

    1. Clicked, saw title, noped out of window.

      1. You are such a prude! Expand your horizons. Drizzle some sprinkles on that vanilla, bro.

        1. That version of Coyote Ugly leaves you crying at the end… just like Old Yeller.

      2. Ah, the good old days of the Internet, when bestiality was one click away.

    2. This might be more appropriate.

    3. Somehow I had already seen that video.

      1. A good way to tell that you’re spending too much time reading the comments here.

  3. “Whether it’s child porn, terrorism intelligence, narcotics or financial crimes information, URL has the ability to find evidence hidden on basically any electronic memory device,”

    *He* must’ve cracked the iPhone for the FBI!

    1. No kidding. That must be one really smart dog.

    2. He’s Ein, the datadog from Cowboy Bebop!

  4. “The exception would be our correctional facility where he will be brought in to search for contraband such as cell phones. Different rules apply there as far as the 4th amendment.”

    Not for long at this rate.

  5. He is only one of nine certified ED K-9s in the country,

    I don’t even want to know how a dog gets certified with erectile dysfunction.

    1. No no, he treats it. First, the sufferer puts peanut butter on his balls…

      1. A dog’s tongue is cleaner than a human’s tongue…

        1. And I didn’t close the tags appropriately, so I deserve a dog ball bath.

      2. I knew a guy that did that, except it was with chocolate applied to his bunghole. I was like duuuuude, that is so wrong. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs.

        1. I see what you did there.

  6. Also, how many goddamn articles are going to get vomited out over less than a half hour span?

  7. This isn’t real. The millennial journalist is trolling us.

    1. Assume I posted my Gotta Love Millennials! song agian.

  8. “Whether it’s child porn, terrorism intelligence, narcotics or financial crimes information, URL has the ability to find evidence hidden on basically any electronic memory device,”

    “I detected the odor of BBW ass-gaping porn coming from the vehicle. URL confirmed my suspicion.”

    Seriously, they’re just making shit up now.

  9. I have an idea for a movie starring Dolph Lundgren about a muscular scientist who can smell crime porn.

    1. Did you mean to say “fantasy” instead of “idea for a movie”?

    2. +1 Sunny.

  10. I thought this story was going to be a lot freakier.

  11. I didn’t realize that our police had such a problem searching for electronic devices they needed dogs to sniff them out.

  12. Given that almost everyone has a phone on hand- how hard is it for the dog to id an electronic device?

  13. In light of learning about Cubans covertly sharing information via thumb drives and other small electronics, in the case of things really going to hell in the US this is not a very assuring development.

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