New K9 named "Reptar" sniffs out electronics to help solve crimes
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - A new K9 officer is on the job in the state of Ohio and he's sniffing out evidence that isn't always easy to find.
Reptar is a 22-month-old black Labrador Retriever who has been trained to detect the chemicals contained in electronic devices that have storage capabilities. Reptar is teamed with Special Agent Josh Rammel of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Crimes Against Children Unit.
"You ready to work? You ready to work? C'mon, buddy let's work," Rammel told Reptar in a video released by the Ohio Attorney General's Office Friday.
Reptar's skills are put to the test daily. He recently found an SD card during a child pornography investigation, but he'll also be used to investigate other crimes where electronic devices are involved.
"As I go and I point to a certain location I say 'seek'. If he hits on it I'll say 'show me.' He'll pinpoint where he's getting the exact odor from and I'll feed him at that point," Rammel said in the video.
Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover of the Hamilton Co. Sheriff's Office was a K-9 handler for a cross-trained dog for eight years. He knows how valuable the dogs can be when trying to locate evidence.
"It's not really surprising to me but it's interesting. The reason I say it's not surprising is they train dogs across the country to search out all kinds of different odors. It's not just tracking people and looking for narcotics and explosives," Schoonover said.
In this digital age, law enforcement routinely finds evidence on electronic devices proving Reptar could be a MVP among his fellow K-9's.
"It's more and more every day probably. So, I can see where that dog's probably worth his weight in gold," Schoonover said.
Currently, the Hamilton Co. Sheriff's Office's Regional Computer Crimes Task Force partners with the FBI on the Computer Crimes Against Children Task Force. Schoonover said the sheriff's office could ask the AG's office to use the dog or possibly look into the possibility of buying its own electronics detection K-9.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said grant money paid for Reptar and his training which totaled $11,000. Reptar and Rammel will be loaned to local law enforcement agencies upon request.