By Ian Bush

MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — She’s only 2 years old, but the Delaware County district attorney is using her in the fight against a vile crime.

“Charlie’s very busy with the important work of saving children,” says Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations.

She is Charlie, a Labrador Retriever with the know-how to track down child porn that her human police counterparts can’t find.

“In many cases, of course, because it’s so well-hidden, they have missed,” says District Attorney Jack Whelan. “And Charlie makes the hit.”

How To Keep Your Identity Safe In Wake Of Equifax Data Breach

Hard drives under floorboards. Tiny SD cards in the pocket of a coat in a closet. Charlie’s trained to sniff out what child predators conceal from investigators.

“That’s another way we can obtain the evidence we need to prosecute those individuals,” Whelan says.

Charlie has been out on a half-dozen investigations so far and already has found equipment authorities say the two-legged officers would have missed.

untitled35 Delaware County Police Dogs Nose Knows Hidden Child Porn

(credit: Ian Bush)

In a demonstration at the county courthouse in Media on Wednesday, the district attorney’s office showed off the dog’s skills: Charlie quickly located a surreptitiously-placed thumb drive, notifying her handler of the discovery by sitting next the bag containing it, while ignoring the other two identical blue bags.

“How? The odor,” explains Nat Evans, forensics analyst in the county’s Criminal Investigation Division. “There are chemicals used in the manufacturing process of electronic devices. Just like a narcotics dog is trained on marijuana and cocaine, she’s trained to identify these chemicals.”

Students Praised As Smart More Likely To Cheat, Study Claims

Charlie’s skills are critical, he says, considering the hundreds of gigabytes of illegal images that can fit on something the size of a fingernail.

“When she finds the odor, she’s going to get her toy — so that’s her incentive to do it,” Evans says.

Besides that favorite tennis ball, Charlie gets more playtime outside the district attorney’s office, as the Evans family pet.

“My daughter is in love with Charlie,” he says. “Every night before she goes to bed, she has to give me a kiss, then she has to give Charlie a kiss.”

Charlie is a rare breed, one of what the district attorney’s office says are fewer than two dozen dogs across the country trained in electronic detection.

 

More From CBS Philly

Latest Forecast
Weather App
Latest Videos

Watch & Listen LIVE