The District Attorney’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force just added their newest, one-of-a-kind member: Charlie.
Charlie, who was introduced by District Attorney Jack Whelan and Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, is a two-year-old Labrador retriever.
She is the first and only electronic detection forensic K9 in Pennsylvania, not to mention one of less than two dozen with this title in the country.
“Charlie is a great addition to our ICAC team in their daily efforts to bring predators to justice,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “In Delaware County, we are constantly looking at how we can advance our abilities and forensic capabilities to catch predators. Amazingly, Charlie can find elements of a crime that even the most seasoned investigator can miss, which are essential for prosecution.”
The ICAC’s goal is to protect against child predators which often includes cases related to child porn. Many of the pornographic images are found on electronic devices.
Charlie’s job is to find the devices that predators hide.
According to the Delaware County's director of Public Relations Emily Harris, Charlie can track the current and previous locations of small electronic devices that have potential to contain pornographic images. These small storage devices such as flash drives and SD cards have a specific chemical smell that humans cannot detect.
Charlie, alongside her handler and forensic analyst of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division Nat Evans, was trained by Gerald Azzi of Azzi International Service for Dogs who has over 35 years of experience in training.
In 2016 alone, 3,003 cyber tips were received in Pennsylvania leading to 303 arrests. The Delaware County ICAC handled 29 of these arrests. Their work has led to finding the identity of seven pornographic abuse victims. The ICAC team all together consists of three detectives, two forensic analysts, two analysts who investigate cyber tips and now Charlie.
“We are excited to introduce Charlie the first and only ICAC electronic-detection K9 in the state of Pennsylvania," said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "Charlie has the ability to detect objects that would be impossible to find. We are excited to have her on the team and look forward to her contributions in helping bring predators to justice."