Kentucky State Police Introduce “K9-May”
The Kentucky State Police (KSP) are putting the spotlight on its newest member, a two-year old black Labrador unit named ‘May.’ Serving as the agency’s first electronic storage device (ESD) detection canine, she is one of only 51 ESD canine units in the country. May was trained by Jordan Detection K9 located in Indianapolis, IN. They partner with the non-profit organization Operation Underground Railroad who assist law enforcement in rescue efforts of children that are victims of human trafficking. Part of that project includes providing funds to train ESD K9’s like May and thanks to this partnership, KSP was able to receive May at no cost to the agency.
ESD canines work with police agencies and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces to assist with locating hidden electronic storage devices such as hard drives, USB drives and cell phones that may contain criminal activity, such as child sexual abuse material.
May received training in scent discrimination, pinpoint accuracy, open area searches and realistic scenario based training. Additionally, each canine and handler team work together to support other missions such as workplace therapy and victim disclosures.
May serves this dual purpose as she’s also a comfort dog. KSP has already utilized her in that role for a recent child exploitation investigation. While detectives were interviewing the child victim, they were able to bridge the gap by bringing May to meet and interact with the child.
Lieutenant Mike Bowling is the Commander of the KSP Electronic Crime Branch and says May has already proven herself to be an asset to their team.
“May has assisted our branch detectives with four search warrants and has been successful during all her deployments thus far,” said Bowling. “She has located key pieces of evidence during these investigations and we are pleased with what she has already brought to our team.”
ESD Canines gained national attention in 2015 during the investigation of Subway pitchman, Jared Fogle. An ESD Canine named “Bear” located key electronic evidence in Fogle’s home, leading to his conviction and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sex crimes.
May’s handler is Detective Leslie Strong, a seven-year veteran of the agency who is assigned to the Electronic Crime Branch. “She’s a smart dog and has been great to work with,” says Strong. “In her free time May enjoys belly rubs, squeaky toys and naps.”
KSP will participate in a social media campaign this month called ‘The Month of May’ to highlight the work May accomplishes on a daily basis while also sharing some fun ‘off-duty’ photographs to allow people the chance to get to know her better. To keep up with May be sure to follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ksp_k9may/