• Police dogs trained to find collections of child porn

    By: WPXI.com

    Updated:

    We've heard of dogs that can sniff out bombs and drugs, but right now there are police dogs being trained to sniff out hidden collections of child porn.

    These dogs are training to detect the chemical compound found in adhesives used in electronic devices like flash drives, cell phones and SD cards. Some of the dogs are being trained by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Special Agent Joe Mech explains what those dogs can find.

    "It's a scent that as humans we would probably not even be able to detect, but dogs have a such a powerful sense of smell that they can detect literally thousands of different odors," said Mech.

    One of those dogs is named Kozac. He is one of only 30 electronic sniffing dogs in the country right now, and he is named after a Pittsburgh woman.


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    The Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force wanted to pay homage to Alicia Kozakiewicz, who survived a harrowing kidnapping 17 years ago. Kozakiewicz was lured from her home in Pittsburgh by an internet predator. He held her captive in his Virginia home for several days, torturing her.

    "Alicia's a warrior and it was an honor to name our dog after her," said Special Agent Tami Pawlak.

    Two years ago, Wisconsin passed Alicia's Law. It gives law enforcement more power and more funding to track down internet sex predators. Kozakiewicz led the crusade.

    "I'm not a police officer," Alicia Kozakiewicz. "I can't physically go rescue them but now there's a dog in my name who's doing that and that just feels incredible."

    Kozac was donated by Neighborhood K9, but money from Alicia's Law now pays for food and vet care for Kozac. After four months of training, Kozac began working in August, So far, he's been on eight searches and discovered five hidden electronic items missed by officers.

    "A lot of these perpetrators, they hide these devices in their houses. in places they don't want anybody to find," Pawlak said. "People don't know what they're actually interested in, so they're good at hiding it. Kozak's able to find those devices and we are able to put them into evidence."

    That evidence, is the most important piece for these cases.

    "One micro SD card can literally contain thousands of images and videos on it," Mech said. "That could be the difference between finding evidence to arrest a perpetrator or not finding it and they end up not being arrested at all."

    The cases Kozac worked on are still being investigated. He won't just be used on internet predator cases, but any case where electronic devices may hold key evidence.

    "It's just an incredible thing to have this dog named after me," Kozakiewicz. "He's going to help save lives and put so many bad people away."

    Click here to learn more About Alicia Kozakiewicz and The Alicia Project.
     

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