FDLE K9 Maple has successful first year sniffing out cyber criminals

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — One local police dog has only been on the job for a year and she’s making a huge impact.

Four-year-old Maple is assigned to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s cyber team. Maple sniffs out electronic devices used as evidence against child pornography to terrorism.

Maple’s handler, FDLE Special Agent Stephanie Cassidy, says she got Maple as a puppy and wouldn’t have thought she would’ve grown up to help her combat cyber criminals. But, she’s done a good job.

“It’s been a very busy year,” Cassidy said. “We’ve done 34 search warrants this year. She’s found about 73 devices.“

Those devices often are used to conceal criminal activity, like possession of child pornography.

Maple is FDLE’s only electronic storage device detection canine.

Maple is trained to sniff out anything that can digitally store information like USB drives, hidden cameras, computers, thumb drives, cell phones, CDs and DVDs. 

When Maple is looking for electronic devices, Cassidy said she is sniffing for a chemical found inside them. Maple has found devices in some unusual places.

“A thumb drive was found inside a 12 pack of sodas in a refrigerator,” said FDLE Special Agent Vannessa Carmona. “Right above that was a rack of ribs. It’s just amazing. When she alerts you, it’s there — you just have got find it.”

The special agents says Maple is not only a good partner in combatting cybercrime, she’s also a good friend.

“She’s also the office comfort dog,” Carmona said.

Cassidy says the community should feel comforted knowing there’s a dog out there with one powerful sniffer keeping them safe.

“I think because of her the community is a better place,” she said.

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