Nose knows for K-9 Denver
Sheriff’s office welcomes electronics-sniffing Labrador
BENTONVILLE — Denver sniffed along the walls of a conference room at the Benton County sheriff’s office.
The black English Labrador’s talent is not finding drugs or explosives. Denver is trained to find electronic devices.
“He can find a micro card about the size of a fingernail,” said Det. Allison Nguyen, Denver’s handler.
Nguyen said she’s put a cellphone inside a pool filter and Denver found it.
She said Denver is trained to find flash drives, external hard drives, cellphones and other devices with Bluetooth capabilities.
Lt. Shannon Jenkins, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said the office has eight dogs whose duties include search and rescue, narcotics, tracking and computer forensics and apprehension.
Nguyen and Denver have been partners for more than six weeks. She met Denver when she went to a two-week training in Indianapolis. Denver has been on the job in Benton County for about a month.
“He moved from Indiana and got a family and job,” she said.
Denver will primarily be used in cases concerning child pornography, but can assist with other cases in searching for electronic devices, Nguyen said. Training is still a big part of her and Denver’s days.
Denver is the second electronics-sniffing dog in the state. Lucy and Amber Kalmer, a special agent, joined the Arkansas attorney general’s office in January.
Jeff LeMaster, a spokesman for the attorney general, said Lucy was sponsored, so there were no costs for the office. LeMaster said Lucy is used daily whether on search warrants, assisting victims or training.
“She has assisted other
agencies and will continue to do so,” LeMaster said. “She works on investigations where electronics may be key pieces of evidence, particularly in internet crimes against children.”
Nguyen said she’s excited about the help Denver will provide finding electronic devices, but she also believes he will be important as a comfort animal.
Denver and Lucy are also trained as victim companion dogs. Nguyen said there are some cases where she’s involved with victims for years and believes Denver will play an important part in helping them.
“Lucy has been an invaluable asset not just to my office, but to law enforcement agencies across the state, especially those that would not otherwise have access to her unique abilities,” Attorney General Tim Griffin said. “I am thrilled that the Benton County sheriff’s office has acquired its own electronics-sniffing K-9, as that expands capabilities in Northwest Arkansas to bring criminals to justice.”
Operation Underground Railroad donated Denver to the sheriff’s office, Jenkins said. The organization’s mission is to fight human trafficking and sexual exploitation worldwide.
Randy Golding, a domestic law enforcement relations consultant with the group, said the sheriff’s office reached out to the organization for consideration of a sponsored electronics-sniffing dog. The sheriff’s office was selected based on the great work it is already doing in fighting child exploitation, he said.
Denver “will increase the sheriff’s office’s efficiency and help ensure that valuable evidence containing child sexual abuse material is not missed or left behind,” Golding said.
Denver has already assisted on a case for the Bentonville Police Department and one for the Washington County sheriff’s office, Nguyen said.
Nguyen said she’s never seen Denver being aggressive. She is the handler certified to work with Denver, but it’s OK for others to pet him.
“He’s super laid-back,” she said. “He’s really good with kids.”