Electronics-sniffing dog to help state prosecute child pornography suspects

LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Tim Griffin in a news conference Wednesday introduced the state’s first police dog trained to sniff out electronics.

Lucy, a yellow Labrador, has the ability to search for and locate electronics, which Griffin said will assist the state in ongoing efforts to stop crimes against children and those in possession of child pornography.

“We’re here today to talk about a new capability that we have here in the attorney general’s office that is going to strengthen our ability to protect children and be a great asset all over the state,” the attorney general said. “Not just for this office but for central Arkansas and all over the state. We’ll be able to utilize this resource to pursue criminals and protect children.”

Lucy is one of just 100 canines globally trained in locating electronic devices.

Her training allows Lucy to locate devices through her ability to “detect chemical compounds found in data storage devices, including thumb drives and cell phones,” according to a press release from Griffin’s office.

“This is what we in the military call a ‘force multiplier.’ You’re not adding 10 or 20 officers — you’re being smarter with the approach, and it has the effect of multiplying your force, and that’s what Lucy does,” Griffin said.

According to Wayne Bewley, chief investigator of the Special Investigations Division of the AG’s office, Lucy’s handler, Special Agent Amber Kalmer, will also be an asset.

Kalmer has worked as a detective with the Little Rock Police Department’s FBI Task Force Internet Crimes Against Children. She is also suspected of the case against Josh Duggar and is the first witness called by the prosecution in Duggar’s 2021 trial.

“We’re excited because she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her and into our office — particularly in the internet crimes against children category,” he said.

During the press conference, Kalmer demonstrated Lucy’s ability to search for and locate any device capable of holding data. In just under five minutes, Lucy was able to locate a series of electronic devices of different sizes and storage capacities located in, under and around different objects in the room — out of sight.

Griffin reiterated that although Lucy’s capabilities will primarily be used in relation to crimes against children, she will also be available for law enforcement for assistance in other cases as well.

“I could see, also, an instance where you’re trying to locate a computer — unrelated to crimes against children — that is a part of a search in a number of different criminal contexts, and she would be helpful there as well .”

Kalmer and Griffin ended the conference by sharing that Lucy is also trained to work as a companion dog for the victims of crimes and will be used in that way as well.

Griffin said, “Lucy is also good with victims when [she’s] not seeking out these devices, and that’s an important part of it. Now, we have to make sure the whole state knows about [Lucy’s] capabilities.”

He added, “If you have a capability and nobody knows to call and ask then it’s really not being maximized. Next, we’re going to talk about ways that we can get Lucy around the state and do some training with law enforcement around the state. We want them to be able to say… ‘Call Lucy, we need to call Lucy.'”

Bewley added, “Lucy will be a tremendous asset to not just our office but to all law enforcement offices throughout the state. We will make Lucy available to any agency that’s needing her expertise.”

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