Meet North Dakota’s First-Ever Electronic Detection K9

Local News

When investigating any type of cybercrime, it can be hard to “sniff” out the evidence. However, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem introduced the newest Bureau of Criminal Investigation officer to North Dakota.

Hex will be the newest addition to North Dakota’s BCI Unit and first-ever electronic detection K9 in our state.

The 2-year-old Lab will be one of 30 dogs that have been deployed across the U.S. to help with child pornography and other internet crime cases involving children.

Jesse Smith is not only his partner but will be with Hex 24/7, seven days a week. He said his new friend went through some pretty extensive training.

Smith, who is a Special Agent North Dakota’s BCI Cyber Crime Unit said, “It’s usually about six months. It depends on how fast they pick up on it and then we show up for a two-week handler school and then the dogs train us and how they alert because each dog is different.”

Each dog is trained to sniff out a specific chemical that is in the memory of electronics like cell phones, hard drives or SD cards. With dogs like Hex, he can target out the evidence that could be overlooked by investigators and do it quicker and more effectively.

Stenehjem said, “We will find very often that there are hundreds of images of child pornography and we can look and we can look thoroughly, but not nearly to the extent this dog can do because he can find things that are hidden, secreted in a way that nobody else would think of a place to look.”

Smith told KX there have been times where he and his team have not been able to find all the evidence they know is there and said Hex is really going to be a big help in stopping future predators.

“I run across the state for search warrants for child pornography all the time. Especially with us being the state agency, that was the purpose of us getting him and assisting all over,” said Smith. “We have 38 local affiliates that are apart of the Internet Children Crimes Task Force and they will call us and we will deploy him.”

Hex is estimated to be deployed at least 50 times across North Dakota throughout the year. He will be assisting Minnesota and South Dakota investigations as well until they receive their own K9.

Hex was funded through Operation Underground Railroad with Homeland Security.

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