MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office has a new furry friend, but she isn’t just any dog, she’s a game changer.
Estie is the only K9 in the State of Alabama that can sniff out electronic storage devices. She was donated by non-profit organization, Operation Underground Railroad.
She serves as a search tool to find items with hidden chips in them that otherwise look like normal objects.
“Investigators will do their search just normal like they would and they get all the plain view items that they can see and go through drawers,” said Sgt. Laura Grantham, Estie’s handler. “We always wonder, did we get it all? Are we missing evidence? Are we missing a victim? So I now can run her through.”
This week, students in the bio-med program at St. Luke Episcopal School are having their annual forensic science week and Estie was invited to show the students her skills.
Grantham showed News 5 firsthand how Estie does it. She hid a few items and then Estie went on her search to find them.
“To see it was actually pretty cool,” said Callie Ott, a sophomore at St. Luke’s. “I never thought that you could bring animals into the field and then be able to help solve massive scale crimes.”
“It’s really amazing, I had no clue dogs could do that,” said Joshua Green, a junior at St. Luke’s. “I obviously knew through like fire dogs and stuff that dogs like sniff around and smell stuff, but I didn’t know it can go as deep as a tiny little microchip in your phone or in your flash drive that they can find it, in a big, wide-open room,”
In just two and a half weeks, Estie has aided the Sheriff’s Office in two search warrants involving Internet crimes against children, but she isn’t only an electronic device detection K9.
“She is also cross trained as well to be a comfort or de-stressing dog to child victims of child abuse, child sex abuse, any kind of sensitive investigations or cases” said Grantham.
Estie can detect electronics in water and in walls. She will turn two on April 19th.
“I think she’s amazing for mobile,” said Grantham. “I think she’s amazing for law enforcement as a tool for both helping catch the people who would perpetrate horrific crimes on our children and also to be there, to be comforting to any detectives that, you know, work these types of cases that need de-stressing from it.”
Click here to follow Estie’s journey.