Rupert police first ‘electronic detection’ K9 in the state

The K9 Newton is one of 66 dogs nationwide trained to help law enforcement investigators find digital storage devices.

RUPERT, Idaho – He’s the first of his kind in Jem, and many lawmakers didn’t even know the “genus” existed during his visit Wednesday night to the Idaho State House.

K9 Newton joined Rupert’s police department in October 2021, but he won’t be sniffing drugs. Newton was trained to detect triphenylphosphine oxide; it is a chemical used in the production of digital storage devices such as cell phones, hard drives, USB sticks and more.

“His ability to find things is enormous,” said Police Sergeant Rupert. said Sam Hoha. “In one of the cases we helped with, he found a cell phone hidden in a pile of dirty linen in the attic.”

Sergeant Hoha has been actively involved in investigating the exploitation of children for the better half of the decade. He started reading about Operation Underground Railroad from Utah, which helps local law enforcement prevent child exploitation.

They fund programs that make resources like Newton available.

“They provided 100% funding,” the sergeant said. said Kuoha.

Like any dog, he can be distracted as his hypersensitive nose picks up every cell phone in every pocket. But Newton knows when to focus according to his handler, det. Corporal Travis Freeman.

“He certainly feels it all the time, but he’s not always in working order,” Det said. Corporal Said Freeman.

Rupert’s police sent a two-year-old Labrador three times. Every time Newton discovered a device, it would take the department hours to find it by hand search – if they found it at all – according to the sergeant. Kuoha.

“With an asset like the K9 Newton, we can do it in half an hour,” the sergeant said. said Kuoha.

Det. Corporal Freeman affirms that Newton’s primary function is to assist in finding warrants to search for digital evidence related to child exploitation and pornography; however Newton will be used in other major crimes investigations that have a digital connection.

Newton is a value to the entire state, not just the Rupert Police Department. And Rupert PD urges other law enforcement to turn when Newton’s abilities are needed.

“We knew Idaho didn’t have any of these dogs. It was very necessary. So we took the opportunity to find funding and get one of these dogs, ”the sergeant said. said Kuoha.

Newton is expected to serve as a tool for law enforcement for 5-7 years, det. Corporal Said Freeman.

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