Full Access to Nathan Anderson, Electronic Detection K-9s
Digital evidence is critical to all ICAC investigations. As storage devices become increasingly smaller in physical size but store more data, locating that evidence becomes difficult. North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has responded to this need by adding K-9 Rita to the team.
This episode’s conversation with Nathan Anderson discusses electronic detection K-9s and their role in criminal investigations.
[00:19] Profile of this episode’s Guest: Nathan Anderson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge at N.C. State Bureau of Investigation
- Nathan supervises agents in the Computer Crimes Unit and the Internet Crimes Against Children task force for the western part of North Carolina.
- He is currently the handler for the state of North Carolina’s only electronics storage protection K-9, Rita.
- His law enforcement career started with the Asheville Police Department in 2005 before he started working with the state.
- In 2013, Nathan moved to investigating computer crimes.
[06:57] The structure of the ICAC task force within the NCSBI
- The NCSBI has field offices regionally located and aims to have one Computer Crimes Unit agent per district.
- Nathan and two other ASACs are assigned specifically to computer crimes.
- Over 200 affiliates made up of city-county partners and law enforcement throughout North Carolina
- Every agent is trained in digital forensics
[11:43] What is an electronic storage detection K-9 (ESD)?
- An ESD K-9 has been specifically trained to locate a chemical in electronic storage devices.
- Those devices include hard drives, cell phones, microSD cards, thumb drives, and anything that can write data and store memory.
- ESD K-9s came to prominence after K-9 Bear located contraband and evidence in the Jared Fogle investigation
[13:14] The importance of locating digital evidence in investigations
- Digital evidence is critical to investigating ICAC matters.
- Devices are becoming increasingly smaller in physical size but can hold more data.
- Evidence can be quickly hidden away at a moment’s notice, so having a way to locate those devices is essential.
[19:55] The process and success of using an ESD K-9
- Triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO) is found in all electronic devices and is what ESD K-9s are trained to detect.
- Unlike narcotics or human remains dogs, ESD K-9s are constantly surrounded by what they’re trained to seek.
- An ESD K-9 is a secondary search tool. Investigators can locate desktop computers and laptops. When Rita comes on the scene, investigators tend to search a bit harder because they don’t want to be shown up by a dog.
[27:38] Having an ESD K-9 is invaluable
- Typically after the investigators are finished searching, the K-9 will be deployed to ensure nothing was missed.
- In the last year, K-9 Rita has had about a 75% success rate of finding something that investigators hadn’t seen.
- Because this is a new discipline, agencies have taken time to accept that they need ESD K-9s.
- K-9 Rita has helped in homicide investigations, searching for a phone in an open-field search.
[31:45] What are the first steps to obtaining an ESD K-9?
- The initial cost is several thousand dollars, depending on the program
- Daily training, maintenance, time, and cost have to be considered
- Some groups offer sponsorships or donations