JACKSON, Tenn. — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has a new tool to fight against crime: a 2-year-old lab named Zeus who has a special talent.
Zeus can sniff out electronic storage devices like hard drives, flash drives, and micro SD cards which could all hold vital evidence, especially for child exploitation cases.
Zeus and his partner, Special Agent Derek Miller, will be assisting in cases across the state of Tennessee with a primary focus on internet crimes against children.
Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) K-9s can be vital to investigations as electronic storage devices can easily be overlooked by human eyes, especially when hidden in wall cracks, clothing or ceiling tiles, or tossed into boxes, dirty laundry, or the garbage. These devices are less likely to elude detection by Zeus and his nose trained to detect a chemical compound used on practically all of these devices.
“A micro SD card that has 200,000 images of child sexual abuse material,” said Miller. “If we don’t find that card, we could be missing out on 2,000 counts of a crime that in the State of Tennessee, is a Class B Felony.”
There are chemicals released by electronic storage devices that are universal. Zeus’s nose can detect that odor and point out the device to his handler.
“Zeus will enhance our ability to protect the state’s children and help ensure we have as much evidence as possible as cases involving electronic media continue to evolve,” explained TBI Director David Rausch. “He will also be able to offer his unique ability to comfort his coworkers who are in high-stress situations, and reduce trauma for victims and witnesses.”
Zeus was raised by Paws with a Cause and on his way to be an assistant dog for people with disabilities or PTSD. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, demand for assistant dogs decreased and Zeus was put on a new career path as an ESD K-9. Zeus was trained by Todd Jordan of Jordan Detection K-9 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
When not utilizing his ESD capabilities, Zeus will serve as a comfort companion to both law enforcement officers and the public, such as child victims. He will also assist in stress diffusion and show off his skills to school and civic groups.
Zeus is the first ESD K-9 for the TBI and the second in the state.