MINNEAPOLIS — K-9’s are dogs specifically trained to help law enforcement officers at various crime scene.
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Investigation Team recruited a 2-year-old black British Labrador, named Sota, the first electronic detection K-9 in the state of Minnesota.
“We are proud to introduce the newest member of the BCA investigations team,” says Bruce Gordan, with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
K-9 Sota joins roughly three dozen dogs across the country - trained to detect electronic evidence across the United States. They are dogs specifically trained to comb through crime scenes, sniffing out evidence investigators may otherwise miss. “USB drives, cell phones,” says Superintendent Drew Evans with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Investigations Team.
Evans says Sota was donated through a non profit called “Operation Underground Railroad. “And donated it to the state of Minnesota,” says Evans. “That’s a value of over $15,000 dollars and the only expense is food and training.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Sota previously began training in Michigan as a service dog but was deemed too high energy for the role.
Sota started working at the department in May but has since been deployed on 10 cases – including predatory crimes, homicides, and financial crimes. Sniffing out a chemical coating found on all memory storage chips in electronic devices.
“Child exploitation cases, and those are the cases where we are locating people who are trying to exploit our children on line,” says Evans.
Sota is credited with locating 21 pieces of potential evidence – including a hidden cell phone from a homicide case. “A place that we would have never found as investigators, but she is assisting us as our most capable investigator with her nose locating that evidences,” says Evans.