WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - The newest member of the Westchester County Police Department is an old dog that was taught some new tricks.
Officials in Westchester and from the FBI were on hand Monday morning to unveil Harley, the newest member of the department’s canine unit, which has been specially trained to sniff out electronics that may have been used in a crime.
According to officials, Harley has been trained to track down devices such as thumb drives, hard drives, SD cards, tablets or computers that may “contain evidence that is critical to cracking open cases and advancing criminal investigations.”
Westcehster Coutny Executive Rob Astorino noted that canines have been used to help fight crimes for more than a century, citing dogs that were used to help track down Jack the Ripper in England in the late 1800s, though Harley brings an entirely different skillset to the Hudson Valley.
“Canines and cops working together is nothing new,” he said. “What’s interesting about Harley’s addition is her natural abilities are now being used to counter 21st Century high-tech computer-based crimes.”
Harley’s beat will include helping to execute search warrants and investigating crime scenes, particularly cases that involve financial fraud, child pornography, narcotics trafficking and terrorism. She joins nearly a dozen other canines in the department that serve a variety of purposes for law enforcement officials.
“Because the dog’s ability to smell is 50 times greater than a human, she can locate devices quicker and easier than her uniformed counterparts,” Astorino added.
Westchester County Police Det. Brett Hochron, who will be Harley’s holder, offered a demonstration of his new partner’s abilities, having her track down various devices that were strategically hidden at the Westchester County government offices.
“The world today operates totally on computers, and that includes the criminal world,” Astorino said. “Cyber crime can stop anywhere at anytime, but at least here in Westchester, we’re putting critically needed capabilities to work for our residents.”
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