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What Does Child Porn Smell Like? DHS Is Training Dogs To Sniff it Out

Meet Charlie, a two-year-old dog with "game-changing abilities," according to law-enforcement types.

To paraphrase the astronomer Arthur Eddington, not only is law enforcement more insane than we imagine, it's more insane than we can imagine. Indeed, when the feds aren't wasting time failing to decipher the lyrics to "Louie, Louie," they are training dogs to sniff out...child pornography. No kidding:

"Today we're announcing a new weapon in the war against child victimization, child exploitation," [Delaware County (Pennsylvania) District Attorney Jack] Whelan said. "And the name of that weapon, the name of that special tool, is Charlie."...

Marlon V. Miller, a special agent in charge of Homeland Security in Philadelphia, said Charlie has "game-changing abilities."

"As technology advances, devices become smaller and smaller, and criminals are better able to hide the elements of their crime," Miller said.

That's where Charlie comes in. During her training, the K-9 located a micro-SD card — roughly the size of a fingernail — under a carpet.

According to Philly.com, Charlie—a female yellow Labrador retriever—is an "'electronic-detection forensic K-9.' The first of her kind in Pennsylvania and one of fewer than two dozen nationwide, Charlie will be deployed with the Internet Crimes Against Children Pennsylvania Task Force, tasked with sniffing out small hidden electronics, from CD-ROMs to flash drives, in suspected predators' homes."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) paid $9,500 for Charlie, plus another $1,100 in taxpayer-funded training. But if you think the benefits of having a dog that can root out SD cards with porn on them ends there, you'd be wrong. Charlie is also a good friend to the cop, Nat Evans, who handles him: "I've got a pet at home and I've got a buddy that comes with me to and from work," Evans told Philly.com, adding that the dog is "therapeutic" for him too.

This sort of thing is, in a word, idiotic. And unscientific.

As Jacob Sullum reported in 2013, dogs trained to sniff out contraband (in most cases, drugs) are wildly inaccurate and often poorly trained at all. Those reports you read about dogs being able to magically sniff out this or that substance are pharmaceutical-grade bunkum. In a 2005 case involving drug-sniffing dogs, writes Sullum,

[Supreme Court Justice David] Souter said, "the infallible dog…is a creature of legal fiction." Souter cited examples of dogs accepted as reliable by courts that had error rates of up to 38 percent. He added that "dogs in artificial testing situations return false positives anywhere from 12.5 to 60 percent of the time."

If anything, Souter gave drug-sniffing dogs too much credit. A 2011 Chicago Tribune analysis of data from suburban police departments found that vehicle searches justified by a dog's alert failed to turn up drugs or drug paraphernalia 56 percent of the time. In 1979 six police dogs at two public schools in Highland, Indiana, alerted to 50 students, only 17 of whom possessed contraband (marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and cans of beer), meaning the false positive rate was 66 percent. Looking at the performance of an Illinois state police K-9 team during an 11-month period in 2007 and 2008, Huffington Post reporter Radley Balko found that the dog sniffed 252 vehicles and alerted 136 times, but 74 percent of the searches triggered by those alerts did not find measurable amounts of illegal drugs. Similarly, a 2006 study by the New South Wales Ombudsman in Australia, an independent agency analogous to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, looked at more than 10,000 searches of people triggered by dog alerts and discovered that 74 percent of them found no illegal drugs. More-recent data from New South Wales indicate an even higher error rate: 80 percent in 2011.

Those numbers look almost respectable compared to the results of a 1984 operation in which Florida state police stopped about 1,330 vehicles at roadblocks and walked dogs around them. If one dog alerted, another was brought in, and vehicles were searched only if both dogs indicated the presence of illegal drugs. That happened 28 times, but those searches yielded just one drug arrest. In other words, even when two dogs both signaled the presence of drugs, they were wrong 96 percent of the time.

It turns out that dogs mostly respond to their handlers and routinely infer when they should alert on a car, or a school locker, or a piece of luggage. That didn't stop the Supreme Court in Illinois v. Caballes from ruling "the use of a well-trained narcotics-detecting dog…during a lawful traffic stop generally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests," effectively giving cops an extraordinarily long leash to run around the Fourth Amendment. In 2014, the high court further ruled a police dog's alert is enough to trigger a search and that a defendant would need to prove that a given mutt is particularly bad at its job. If you think holding human cops accountable is tough, it's even more difficult when it comes to K-9s. The only good news on the sniffing-dog front came in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that prolonging a routine traffic stop so that police could let a dog wander around a vehicle was unconstitutional.

But that was then and now is now and we really need "electronic-detection forensic K-9s" because now that pot is being legalized everywhere, well, we don't want to send all these pooches off to the Hotel Terminus for Dogs or something.

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  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I can completely sympathize with the K-9 Officers who are basically hype to get to hang with a dog all day. Still doesn't make it right, but I sympathize.

  • SQRLSY One||

    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/

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    DRUGS IS GAME TO YOU??

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Or kiddie prostitution, whatever. My mind always goes to drugs, man.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    What Does Child Porn Smell Like

    Shampoo and mushrooms

  • Brandybuck||

    The faint musty smell of sticky keys on the keyboard...

  • Juice||

    The FBI building?

  • MSimon||

    Dennis Hastert?

  • Radioactive||

    teen spirit?

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    pre-teen spirit, you mean.

  • jelabarre||

    Don't you know, child porn is probably printed with scratch-n-sniff ink. Or so probably goes their logic.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Sniffer dogs, brethalizers, how many cop strategies ARE there that you aren't allowed to question in court?

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Next thing you know there will be a half-dog, half-man scientist who smells crime!

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Needs a sexual punch-up.

  • Telcontar the (Obama) Birther||

    Werecop

    Dr. Jackal and Mr. Spotted-Hide

    Sherlock Hounds of 221B Baskerville Street

    And I'm out.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    There actually IS a 'Sherlock Hound'; it was an animated tv show produced in a joint Italian/Japanese venture in 1984-85. Directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki, of SPIRITED AWAY fame. Never seen it.

  • Telcontar the (Obama) Birther||

    "Italian-Japanese"

    Oh, so that Sherlock Hound *protected* child pornographers, then.

  • jelabarre||

    There actually IS a 'Sherlock Hound'; it was an animated tv show produced in a joint Italian/Japanese venture in 1984-85. Directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki, of SPIRITED AWAY fame. Never seen it.

    Miyazaki-san needed to raise the money to start Studio Ghibli *somehow*. I quickly looked up a couple clips from it, and you can definitely see Miyazaki's handiwork.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    Dolph Lundgren nose the truth

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Half-man, half-bear, half-dog...

    I call him, Man-Bear-Dog. I'm super serial you guys.

  • Careless||

    Wow, Gillespie is a complete moron. Yes, dogs alert when their handlers want them to, which makes them bad for getting probable cause, but a dog like this could only be used during an already existing search. At absolute worst, it's just going to waste police time.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Ok, I'll bite. Why could a dog like this ONLY be used during an existing search?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    If they weren't searching it then they're just hanging with a dog.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Because it isn't illegal to have a thumb drive.

  • Cloudbuster||

    That's untrue. The dogs are routinely used in situations where there is no probable cause for a search. Then, if the dog alerts, that is considered probable cause for a search. So, if the dog alerts based on handler behavior, either intentional or unintentional, then there's probable cause for a search whenever the handler wants probable cause for a search, and that's not Constitutional.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Bingo. Hopefully, someday, this idiocy will get the attention it deserves.

  • Careless||

    You're. Not going to use a dog who will alert to literally every single person and house to determine if there's contraband. God, you guys are almost as dumb as nick.

    Everyone has something that smellls like electronics, and kiddy porn smells just like accounting spreadsheets. It's completely useless for getting a search warrant/probable cause

    Again, the only use for this is after you've identified someone you think has child porn, and then finding his electronic storages

  • Careless||

    WEll, you could also use it to try to find secret accounting files for the Mob or something, but you probably get the point by now

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Again, the only use for this is after you've identified someone you think has child porn...

    Or for fishing expeditions.

  • ||

    Everyone has something that smellls like electronics, and kiddy porn smells just like accounting spreadsheets. It's completely useless for getting a search warrant/probable cause

    I love it! The case hinges on evidence that can only be discovered using a detection scheme guaranteed to be so shitty as to be insufficient for probable cause!

  • Brother Kyfho||

    Nope. Unlike a search for drugs, the kiddie porn sniffing dog is NOT there to obtain PC, as it is obvious to even a SCOTUS justice that kiddie porn smells just like accounting spreadsheets. The dog is employed AFTER a warrant is obtained, and is utilized to locate any clandestinely secreted media that could contain said contraband.

  • ||

    The dog is employed AFTER a warrant is obtained, and is utilized to locate any clandestinely secreted media that could contain said contraband.

    You didn't read what I wrote or aren't thinking about it. Probable cause is the lower bar.

    Because probable cause is the lower bar and the dog is providing shaky metadata (at best) as evidence, the notion that the dog(s) won't be used for probable cause (especially when other dogs already are) is a blatant false flag. Even if it's not, the alternative is worse in that actionable evidence is being acquired and/or used under a scheme that knowingly fails to meet the lower bar.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    Because they never use drug sniffing dogs on cars pulled over because the car and/or the occupant in it looks suspicious.

  • jelabarre||

    Because they never use drug sniffing dogs on cars pulled over because the car and/or the occupant in it looks suspicious.

    In northern cities it's known as "DWB" (driving while black). I expect in southwestern states now, especially in Sheriff Arapio's area, they probably have "DWM" (driving while mexican).

  • Ron||

    And as far as the dog is concerned just being used is enough to be alerted so as to please his/her handler.

  • Cloudbuster||

    That's untrue. The dogs are routinely used in situations where there is no probable cause for a search. Then, if the dog alerts, that is considered probable cause for a search. So, if the dog alerts based on handler behavior, either intentional or unintentional, then there's probable cause for a search whenever the handler wants probable cause for a search, and that's not Constitutional.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Dogs can only be used to generate probable cause if they are trained to alert to contraband though. Illegal drugs are contraband as a matter of law in most jurisdictions so if a dog alerts to their presence, that's automatically probable cause for a search. SD cards and other digital storage media are not contraband as a matter of law, so even if a dog alerts to it, that can't be used as the sole basis for claiming probable cause.

  • Chuckles_the_Snarky_Piggy||

    You got it correct, this is a non-issue with a click-bait headline. This dog is not "alerting" to anything that is causing an otherwise unwarranted search as a dog is when used in a traffic stop. This dog is being used during warranted searches to find very small hidden objects that police might otherwise miss.

    If the pervs just keep their kiddie porn on 8" floppys, the investigators will never be able the find the equipment they need to read the data.

    Plus, there's this: "giving cops an extraordinarily long leash to run around the Fourth Amendment".

    I think the whole article was written around that stupid pun.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    "If the pervs just keep their kiddie porn on 8" floppys"

    I'm guessing the pervs are utilizing hard drives in this case. Hey-oh

  • Radioactive||

    know who else used "hard" drives?

  • ||

    This dog is being used during warranted searches to find very small hidden objects that police might otherwise miss.

    Right, the same way you use leeches and bloodletting to detect trace impurities in the blood or canaries to detect trace toxins in the air of a mine... stupidly.

  • Curt||

    Yeah, this moves my outrage meter about as much as when my morning coffee starts getting cold. This dog only adds value in finding hidden things during an authorized search. there's no way it could be used to establish some kind of probable cause for a search.

    If they start using this for probable cause, let me know and I'm sure that outrage meter will be fired up.

    Meanwhile this is just a stupid article that, if anything, makes libertarians look dumb... as though they're incapable of actually understanding what this dog does.

  • jelabarre||

    Yeah, this moves my outrage meter about as much as when my morning coffee starts getting cold. This dog only adds value in finding hidden things during an authorized search. there's no way it could be used to establish some kind of probable cause for a search.

    The point is just how stupid is the entire concept? I mean really, just what does a MMD/SD card smell like? Go ahead, pull one out of your digital camera and sniff it (don't use a microSD, you'll risk snorting it up into your sinuses, and you'll have trouble explaining that one). How is the smell of the plastic casing smell any different from the plastic in hundreds of other objects in your house? How does the digital content of the storage medium affect it's smell in any way? Granted, if you were storing a Steven Segal movie on that SD card it might emanate a particularly rancid smell, but that would be under the purview of the EPA and their Superfund program.

  • flyfishnevada||

    "Wow, Gillespie is a complete moron. Yes, dogs alert when their handlers want them to, which makes them bad for getting probable cause, but a dog like this could only be used during an already existing search. At absolute worst, it's just going to waste police time."

    The personal attack aside, I agree with the poorly worded statement. I think Careless is trying to say that after obtaining a warrant, police could use dogs as a search tool. It's probably more efficient that ransacking some tweaker's apartment.

    Dogs aren't infallible, however, and relying on them to establish probably cause is rife with problems. But apparently, all's fair in love and the drug war. But SD cards? Puh-lease! That's even worse. They are plastic, silicon and metal. Drugs are chemical compounds with distinct odors. Data storage devices are made of the same stuff as half the crap in your house. The dog could sniff your vacuum and next thing you know you're getting free ride downtown while the goon squad tears you house apart looking for evidence.

  • macsnafu||

    Are the dogs sniffing out child porn (and if so, how does it differ from other porn?), or they sniffing out electronic media like SD cards? If the latter, how the heck would they know if there's child porn or any files, dubious or not, on them?

    And sorry Nick, what does it mean to "unsuccessfully fail"? Is that like succeeding in reverse? ;-)

  • Memory Hole||

    They sniff for electronic media in circumstances where they already have reason to suspect the presence of child porn.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Or, if in Louisiana or Chicago (or many small towns around the country), in circumstances where someone in authority has a personal or political score to settle with the "suspect" and wants to go searching through their possessions.

  • Suckin' Seed||

    Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit
    memory chips, like lots of stuff, are made from silicon. It's everywhere.
    -
    "the second-most abundant element on the planet, after oxygen, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. About 25 percent of the Earth's crust is silicon; weirder spots where this element appears include menstrual cups, breast implants and oven mitts."
    -
    This dick head is telling us that this fucking dog can find the porn chip and exclude the cell phones & credit cards that everybody in the room is carrying?

  • Agammamon||

    No, that dickhead is not telling anyone that.

    That dickhead is saying that the dog will find your porn chip, along with your cell phone, credit card, and everything else anyone is carrying.

    Its not that dogs *can't* find this stuff, its that they're not sufficiently reliable to count as a 'detection' in any sane world.

  • target||

    I'm glad somebody said it. So pretty much anything with a circuit board or ICs, like your remote control, your led light bulbs, smoke detectors, basically every new appliance

  • Ron||

    which means if your a suspect the dog will alert to everything and the police will then confiscate everything and dismantle it to look for it and leave the so called suspect with junk everything form refrigerators to tv remotes

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    So the lesson here is to hide your thumb drive inside the case of an electronic device, but not actually connected to the electronic device.

  • ApoxOnBothTheirHouses||

    No, they are not training dogs to sniff out "child porn". They are training dogs to sniff out electronic storage media.

  • Agammamon||

    What Does Child Porn Smell Like? DHS Is Training Dogs To Sniff it Out

    During her training, the K-9 located a micro-SD card

    I fucking hate clickbait titles. Gillespie, you're too damn old to be sinking to this level.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Plus, he totally mis-gendered her in the article!

  • Trainer||

    You don't know how Charlie identifies. Maybe Gillespie was covering his basis so he wouldn't offend. On the same subject, I once had a client come in and buy a girlie looking collar and a masculine collar because she didn't know how her knew dog would identify.

  • Agammamon||

    Here's the thing here.

    Since the dog is not actually looking for contraband - unlike drug or bomb dogs - an alert *should not* be sufficient for probable cause in itself since all it will be doing is indicating the presence of *presumably* legal electronic media. Using in an already authorized search will, at worst, waste police time, at best simply point out media that they missed - but would be authorized to seize if found.

    Sadly, the reality is, despite dogs being trained for only *one* role, police forces insist on using them in cross roles. Bomb dogs don't find drugs, drug dogs don't find bombs, but the military police (for one) definitely use them for both inside the US.

    So expect to see Charlie's 90% reliability rate for finding microSD cards used to justify the search of some poor schmucks car and his arrest on marijuana possession upheld.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Wait. This is only part of the math. To form an opinion we need to know what fraction of searches would normally find contraband. If the dog enriches the success rate 10 fold, then the dog is doing an excellent job, even if the end rate is only 50%.

    Honestly, the fact that 50% of searches find contraband leads me to think that cops do a pretty good job of pre screening their search subjects, regardless of how they do it.

    The problem isn't the search. The problem is the prohibition.

  • MSimon||

    The problem isn't the search. The problem is the prohibition.

  • ||

    The moral precepts, the prohibition, the search, the detection...

    Does the government ever only commit one problem or even just one at a time?

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Wait.. you're advocating legalizing kiddie porn?

  • ||

    Wait. This is only part of the math. To form an opinion we need to know what fraction of searches would normally find contraband. If the dog enriches the success rate 10 fold, then the dog is doing an excellent job, even if the end rate is only 50%.

    It's not an apples to apples comparison. The dogs are 50% successful in differentiating between contraband and 'stuff' and they're being repurposed to sniff (illegal) needles out of haystacks.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    If the dog search is made pursuant to a warrant, I don't think theres an issue. Say they have a warrant to search a home that includes seizing electronic storage devices. Using the dog to try to locate hidden storage devices would not be a problem. Again, assuming theres a warrant supported by probable cause, or a valid exception to the warrant requirement.

    If the purpose of the dog search is to create probable cause then thats a whole different set of issues. A positive indication from the dog would not necessarily indicate illegal contraband, as it could be a host of innocuous items that the dog is indicating. An electronic storage device in and of itself is not contraband, and its existence does not give rise to probable cause that it contains contraband. And obviously the dog cannot determine with its nose what is stored on said device.

    But as long as its simply searching for such devices when there is already a warrant to search for them, using a dog to perform such searches appears reasonable.

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    "Unfortunately, during a trip to Tokyo the dog mysteriously started choking and gagging and died within minutes."

  • Telcontar the (Obama) Birther||

    Japan, aka: "Victorian England, Only With Better Wi-Fi"

  • jelabarre||

    "Unfortunately, during a trip to Tokyo the dog mysteriously started choking and gagging and died within minutes."

    That's right, send the dogs on a training mission to Akihabara.

  • Eeyore||

    Can these dogs also smell witches?

  • Telcontar the (Obama) Birther||

    "But how do you KNOW she's a witch?"

    "Ruff! She smells like one! Ruff!"

  • ||

    I'll convict when the dog says she turned him into a dog.


    And he didn't get better.

  • Telcontar the (Obama) Birther||

    I think you just handed the patriarchy a terrible weapon, you shitlord.

    Now every man and his dog will be able to accuse a woman of witchcraft!

  • ||

    "Ruff! She smells like one! Ruff!"

    This is a good point. Go through the article, replace the word dog with '3-ft. tall, furry, and legally blind deaf mute' and see how much more sense it makes to use them for discovery of evidence.

    I don't doubt that dogs will (still) be of great help finding hiding places on ranches or sizable plots of land, but then they're generally tracking human traffic and not microdots of data and a their ability to detect a single microdot of data (not necessarily the person planting it) in even a few acres is dubious at best.

  • Sevo||

    So the dog has learned that when the handler says "Good Doggie" somebody is guilty?

  • Trainer||

    The purpose of these dogs is not to find drugs but to "alert" when signaled by the officer so that they have probably cause.

  • MSimon||

    The problem isn't the search. The problem is the prohibition.

  • Trainer||

    True but as intelligent human beings we can discuss an issue within two different contexts.

    Yes, things are illegal but shouldn't be is an important topic but we can also discuss the problems that the system is handing to us now. Police dogs are trained to indicate when cued by the officer even when there are no drugs present leading to enough probable cause for a search so even in the context of the laws we have now, it's not really legal and we can definitely address that.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    It is in fact possible to train detection dogs to a high degree of success ... if you have patience and proper technology. During the Vietnam war Animal Behavior Enterprises trained mine detection dogs but did not release them to the field until they had a perfect success rate over 10,000 consecutive trials. And not one of the dogs they trained failed in the field.

    Many of the dogs turned out for typical police patrol are turned out too early, and are too tuned in to handler cues, both overt and subtle, even unintentional. Watch a show, for example, where a dog is working a car they suspect of having drugs in it. The dog moves around and the handler constantly talks to it, tone of voice always working to give a message. This does not mean the dog could not (if properly trained) find the contraband, it only means that the dog has not been trained to work without cues.

    Put another way, this does not mean the dogs cannot do the job, it only means that the trainers are not properly doing theirs. If anyone wants a good education on the topic, pick up a copy of Glenn Johnson's "Tracking Dog"

  • Trainer||

    Exactly and in the legal system that gets lost. No one has anyway to test to see if the really dog is trained well. No one watches the video with a knowledge of training to watch for that signal or command yet every search video I've watched, I've seen the moment when the dog cued to react. No cop is going to rat out his partner by saying that the city paid $25,000 for a police dog and it's not really trained.

  • Ron||

    its not just the cost of the dog now they have to have specialized cars so that the stupid cop won't leave the dog in the car on a hot day and the poor dog dies. Happened here in my town within weeks of the police getting their dog

  • Radioactive||

    my dog will sniff your crotch for free!!!

  • Agnes||

    "Don't call that dog livesaver, call it shithead."

  • Sigivald||

    Not sure this is a good parallel to "drug dogs", though.

    "Finding SD cards and optical media" sounds like things you do after you have a warrant and probably even an arrest, no? It's a way to make a warranted, legal search faster and more effective, no different from a notional future-technology "SD card detector" device.

    There's no claim that the dog only alerts to ones with illicit contents, thus justifying a search ipso facto, which is what's problematic about the use of drug dogs: that claim about them isn't true!

    (Also, as an aside, anyone they catch like that is an idiot - because if you have information, the mere possession of which is a felony? It should be so encrypted and ideally steganographed that nobody can even tell it's there.

    I mean, I'm okay with kiddie porn vendors* being incompetents who are easy to catch out, don't get me wrong...

    * Because no matter how libertarian we are, the production of actual child pornography involves a Real, Actual Crime against a person.

    I say "actual" because as Reason readers well know, there's plenty of stuff that's called that, legally, but isn't, morally; see all the stories of 16 year olds sending topless pictures to their lovers, who "are now child pornographers". This may be a bad idea of their part, but ... it's not Kiddie Porn(tm).)

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    "This sort of thing is, in a word, idiotic. And unscientific."

    It is NOT unscientific! It has been empirically proven that if you need to violate someone's rights under the color of law an [insert contraband here]-dog is the best way to do it.

  • Tionico||

    vehicle searches justified by a dog's alert failed to turn up drugs or drug paraphernalia 56 percent of the time. In 1979 six police dogs at two public schools in Highland, Indiana, alerted to 50 students, only 17 of whom possessed contraband

    It was briefly covered later in the article, but handlers have ways of subtly telling the dog to alert on command. This is to "establish" a "probable cause" claim to "justify" an otherwise unconstitutional fishing expedition. I can imagine, and would be interested in learning the details, the description (outward appearance, race, dress, logos visible, hair styles, "attitudes" of those thirty three students on which the dogs "alerted" but were found to be "clean". We KNOW this is done on a regular basis to "justify" teardowns at roadside of cars where the ossifer has decided he does not like the "cut of his jib" of the driver/passengers in a roadside stop. Abuse of police power, and one of the factors that feeds the nasty perception of coppers in this country.

  • Freedomist||

    If dogs can't distinguish between illegal marijuana and legal hemp, how could they possibly differentiate between illegal child porn and legal adult porn? A dog's alert of legal items that may contain illegal content, such as memory cards, should NEVER be considered "probable cause".

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