The Fairfax County Police Department announced their newest four-legged team member, K9 Browser June 28. Browser has special training which makes him unique compared to other police dogs. He is an electronics detection K9, meaning he can smell chemicals contained in electronics, even ones as small as microSD cards. Browser is one of only two police K9s in the Commonwealth with this special training.
Browser is a member of the Child Exploitation Unit in the Major Crimes, Cyber and Forensics Bureau of the FCPD. He is partnered specifically with Detective Ray McCoy, who trains with the Labrador twice a day, and takes the K9 home at night to be a part of his family when he is off duty. McCoy and Browser train twice the amount which is required of him to keep him in his best shape.
“K9 Browser has been great to work with and is doing an amazing job. He is a very active and social dog, always running up and down the halls playing whenever he is not hard at work training,” said Sergeant Ian Yost. “The Major Crimes Bureau is extremely thankful to have him as a member of the unit.”
When searching for possible hidden devices, McCoy leads his four-legged partner around the search area, and when Browser detects the chemical used in electronics, he will sit down and alert his partner of the hidden electronic. He is then rewarded with a treat for his work. This helps officers quickly locate small items which they could have possibly missed using just their sight. “K9 Browser has been an asset to our detectives in helping find electronic storage devices,” said Yost. “Thanks to Browser’s keen sense of smell, he is able to locate devices that are difficult to discover and helps cut down on the time it takes detectives to search.”
“He is helping us combat online child exploitation and helping us hold dangerous offenders accountable by detecting sometimes hidden, concealable, electronics and memory devices,” Said Maj. Ed O’Carroll, bureau commander.
The K9 helps the FCPD detect and find small electronics with his nose faster than it would take his human colleagues to look for the electronics. Browser was even awarded an honorary “Detective of the Month” award from his colleagues in the department for his hard work.
As Browser has unique training, he and McCoy often assist other jurisdictions in search of electronics such as cell phones, SD cards, USB drives and SIM cards which could contain evidence. “Browser and Detective McCoy also help the Northern Virginia Washington, D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with search warrants related to investigations involving child sexual exploitation materials,” according to an FCPD blog post.
While Browser’s ability to find electronics has helped solve child exploitation cases around the Commonwealth and the District of Columbia, Browser’s abilities can help solve other cases, too. “It helps detectives investigate all types of crimes, from murders, sexual assault, robberies, missing persons, you name it. Any electronic device is capable of being detected nowadays by K9s like Browser,” Chief of Police Kevin Davis told 7News.
With electronic devices having the capability to hold key evidence and information, Browser’s work is critical in helping his fellow detectives. “K9 Browser has a bright future with our department. He will continue to come to work with his partner, Detective McCoy, and remain sharp through training. After hours, Browser will continue to enjoy dog life at home,” said Yost. K9 Browser is a welcomed member of the FCPD thanks to a donation from a community partner.