A K9 with a nose for electronics - Tucson News Now

A K9 with a nose for electronics

Fallon the electronic detecting canine. (Source: Tucson News Now) Fallon the electronic detecting canine. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Fallon (Source: Tucson News Now) Fallon (Source: Tucson News Now)
Tucson News Now's own Kevin Adger with Fallon. (Source: Tucson News Now) Tucson News Now's own Kevin Adger with Fallon. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It may seem impossible to you and I, but to Fallon the Department of Public Safety K9, finding electronics is one of her two jobs.

This special Golden Retriever is a crime fighter in the computer forensics unit. She is only one of two dogs in the state that are digital evidence alert K9s, a second dog works for the Phoenix FBI team.

Fallon works cases that deal with everything from child porn to homicides. For example, if detectives do a sweep of a home, after that sweep, the team sends Fallon in to look for electronics. This includes laptops, cell phones, and USB devices, criminals have been known to hide these items in walls, under dressers, or even in secret compartments.

One of Fallon’s handlers is Sgt. Marcia Johnson. She tells us, the unit that Fallon works for deals with crimes against children. Johnson says, investigating any child as a victim is hard for the investigators.

Johnson says, Fallon likes to circle the room a couple of times, then she goes searching for evidence. It is during this circle that the dog’s second key role kicks in. She also provides stress relief for the department.

According to Johnson, all it takes is a belly rub to change things for the investigators. That pause gives them a chance to take their mind off the case, allowing for a moment to center, then they are able to focus back in on the case.

Before Fallon was a K9 with a nose for electronics, she was just a little puppy at Power Paws in Scottsdale.

Jessa Parker was her trainer. From day one, she was doing scent training with Fallon. Parker says, they pair the puppy with the scent of an electronic device like a cell phone or USB device. Once the puppy gets the scent, they reward it with some type of food the dog enjoys.
In Fallon’s case, Power Paws didn’t have access to the specific scent for electronic devices. So they borrowed or brought every type of electronic device they could get. It took about six months of advanced training for Fallon.
Fallon works in the DPS office in Phoenix currently. However, they have the ability to work in any part of the state for a case.

This talented golden retriever turned 3 years old in March and she has been with DPS for a year and a half. DPS was able to use grants to pay for the training and care of Fallon.

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