WEST MICHIGAN — Michigan State Police, seeing a huge success with their Cyber Dog program. Instead of searching for bombs, drugs, or missing people, these dogs are trained to find electronics.
When FOX 17 first introduced you to Kibbey the black Labrador Retriever in 2017, she was the first and only cyber dog in the state.
Now, MSP has added a second dog named “Dugan” in the Upper Peninsula after Kibbey’s services became so popular.
Kibbey’s Handler, MSP Trooper David Cardenas said that their team is well worth the time and investment.
He said, “Anything with a circuit board is what she’ll be able to find.”
Kibbey is trained to pick up the scent of triphenylphosphine, an ingredient in the gel that coats circuit boards.
Since he and Kibbey got paired-up three years ago, Tpr. Cardenas said that they’ve been quite busy.
“In my first year, I ran over 100 calls. I’m probably getting calls to do searches 2 to 3 times a week,” he said.
Kibbey is used as a secondary search method, meaning once MSP does its initial search at a home or wherever they have a warrant, she’s brought in to find the small devices police may have missed, sometimes in the most unlikely places.
Tpr Cardenas recalls a particularly tricky spot where a someone hid something they didn’t want police to find: On top of a six-foot tall bookshelf.
“She reaches back and her head comes all the way back and then she goes into a sit, so that kind of told me that it was high. I kind of tried to reach up on top of the shelf, there was crown molding on the top of it and I reach up there and there was a 5 terabyte hard drive up there. It had thousands and thousands of images on it and thousands of victims,” Tpr Cardenas said.
Tpr. Cardenas works closely with Michigan’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and said the number of cases they’ve been called in to find these kinds of electronics was surprising at first.
He said, “It’s a little scary to realize there were that many predators out there and made myself open my eyes a little bit more, and try to keep my kids a little bit safer.”
We put Kibbey to work during our interview finding a cell phone.
Kibbey made quick work finding the device hidden underneath a ramp leading up to a shed.
We tried hiding it again under a rock and once again, Kibbey found the device withing a few minutes, getting a tennis ball as her reward.
“She’s fun, she has a great personality. She’s usually all business, I mean, as soon as you get her out, you put her collar on, and her nose is to the ground and she’s looking for stuff already,” said Tpr. Cardenas.
Tpr. Cardenas said given the demand in our Michigan alone, adding a third Cyber Dog to the team isn’t out of the question down the road. Until then, he knows they’ll be in high-demand.
He said, “Unless you’re able to come up with a new type of electronic device to store something without a circuit board in it, I think we’re gonna find it. There’s nowhere to hide it now.”
Though he could get into specifics, Tpr. Cardenas said that one of the most notable cases Kibbey helped out with was the Larry Nassar investigation. He pled guilty to child pornography charges in 2016.