BEDFORD, Ind. — When Indiana State Troopers raided the home of Jeremy Lee Trowbridge in Bedford Monday, they were accompanied by a K-9 officer trained to sniff out evidence of child pornography.
”Certainly the use of Titus going through helped us make sure that all digital devices were found in the home,” said ISP Sgt. Kevin Getz. ”Everybody knows about cellphones and tablets but also what those folks are looking for are external hard drives, micro SD cards, flash drives, we all know how small those items can be and how easily they could be hidden in a house.”
ISP had received five cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about Trowbridge in August and launched its investigation.
Trowbridge now faces two felony counts of child pornography.
The use of a K-9 to ferret out child pornography evidence was first introduced in the 2014-2015 investigations of Jared Fogle and Russell Taylor of child exploitation allegations.
The name of that dog was “Bear” and investigators believe it was the first time nationally that such an evidence recovery technique was utilized.
”Every digital device has one universal chemical in it,” said IMPD Detective Darren Odier who has investigated crimes against children for 17 years. “Can’t be altered, can’t be changed. And like an arson dog hits on accelerants, electronic detection dogs are trained to hit on that one specific chemical, from a smart TV to a micro SD card and everything in between.”
Odier’s current partner is Hunter, a blonde lab, who is one of seven such highly trained police K-9s in Indiana.
”We’ve been deployed 150 times in the two-and-a-half years we have worked together. We did a search warrant this morning. He is able to go into residences or outdoor searches, vehicles, and make sure we don’t miss devices that could help us rescue kids. So he can find any digital device: cellphones, thumb drives, SD cards, micro SD cards, that would be easily hidden or just simply missed on a search.”
Odier said Hunter is also a therapy dog for detectives who spend their days reviewing images of the most heinous crimes perpetrated against children.