Minnesota State Police say he trained a dog to sniff out electronic devices that could store incriminating evidence.
Thus, Sota, a British Labrador was trained to find small electronics, such as USB drives or SD cards, according to Star Tribune. The dog is an unusual tool of law enforcement, especially in an era of inflated police budgets, spent on excessive equipment. However, police say Sota is very valuable.
Dogs with a talent like Sota have not been around for a long time. According to the DPS, there were only three like her in the United States two years ago
It’s hard to imagine a realistic scenario in which you might need a dog to find electronics, but Star Tribune reports that Sota helped find hidden evidence of financial or pedophile crimes.
Dogs like Sota can recognize a chemical element on memory storage chips, called triphenylphosphine oxide, better known as TPPO.
The police department said Sota would be particularly helpful if, for example, a suspect were to throw a micro SD card while fleeing police officers who could not find him on their own.
“K-9 Sota is being trained to help find small pieces of plastic that may contain critical evidence in a case,” said Drew Evans of the Criminal Detention Bureau (BCA). If a criminal “took such a small piece of evidence, threw it in the grass and ran away, it would be very difficult for any of us to find it,” he said.
“Sota can find it easily and very quickly, being a real help for our investigation,” he added.
Of course, Sota and any similarly trained dog cannot indicate whether a storage device actually contains incriminating evidence. Rather, the dog can only establish that an electronic storage device is present, overlooked by human police.