PARKERSBURG, WV (WOWK) — Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) is placing its 100th specially trained dog with the Parkersburg Police Department in West Virginia.
Nyland, a yellow Labrador Retriever, is trained to sniff out electronic devices in cases of child exploitation, child pornography, and human trafficking.
An electronic storage device (ESD) tracking dog can sniff out triphenylphosphine oxide, a chemical compound found on digital devices. The dogs are trained by Jordan Detection K9 in Indiana.
OUR says that since 2018, its dogs have been used on 532 search warrants in the United States after initial searches by authorities. The organization says that in 2022, dogs found hidden devices officers missed 74% of the first time, leading to 377 arrests and 82 people being rescued.
“The dogs are amazing,” says Tim Ballard, OUR Founder and Chairman. “Sometimes the only evidence that exists that a child might be getting hurt is on a cellphone, USB or microSD card hidden under the carpet and even in the water.”
Grants from OUR cover dog training and K-9 handler expenses to attend a two-week course.
OUR is a nonprofit that works with law enforcement to rescue children from human trafficking and place survivors with vetted aftercare providers who will help with the path to recovery. To learn more about OUR, click here.