MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Desoto County Sheriff’s Department will soon have a new team member in its efforts to fight production and distribution of child pornography.

The new four-legged investigator will aid in the county’s war against those who produce and distribute child pornography and sniff out those try to hide evidence from investigators.

A new police dog called an electronic storage detection K-9 is expected to start work sometime in November. It is believed to be the first such dog used in the state of Mississippi.

The dog is trained to sniff out the smallest of storage devices, as tiny as a mini SD card, that might contain pornographic images of children.

“It alerts us to there’s something there, that we need to look closer, there’s something that we missed,” said Desoto County Detective Jessica Palmer.

For Palmer, a member of the Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children Division, the canine crime fighter coming soon to the sheriff’s department will be a “force multiplier.”

Palmer, along with other detectives, spends countless hours scouring the web looking for predators. It’s an emotionally draining job.

“It breaks my heart what some people will do with these children and how they exploit them,” Palmer said.

She found out about the specially trained dogs from a non-profit organization named Operation Underground Railroad, which provides necessary tools for law enforcement to help stop child exploitation and human trafficking.

She said an electronic storage detection K-9 like those already in service in other states would help locate illicit images often hidden in the most bizarre places.

“I mean, they can put them in between mattresses, they can put them in toilet paper holders,” Palmer said.

The dog will be a welcomed addition in the county’s battle against the exploitation of children.

“This will be the first one in the state of Mississippi and I don’t believe there is another one within several hundred miles of here,” Chief Deputy Justin Smith said.

Operation Underground Railroad will provide the dog, the training, the food, and pay veterinary bills.

There will be zero cost to Desoto County tax payers. Detective Palmer’s training class will be in November where she will learn how to work with the dog before returning with the dog to Desoto County.

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