The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday introduced its newest member, an electronics detection canine who will aid law enforcement during crimes against children investigations.
The state’s attorney’s office announced in late November that Grip would join their Cyber Lab.
Grip is a year-and-a-half-old yellow Labrador Retriever that was trained in electronics detection.
She can locate cellphones, computers and any other digital devices containing a SIM card or chip, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
Grip has been partnered with handler Rob Beach, who is a Lake County State’s Attorney investigator specializing in cybercrime investigations.
Grip will assist Beach in mutual aid requests during investigations involving crimes against children, officials said.
She will work with law enforcement agencies during the execution of search warrants related to cases involving the use of electronic devices.
“I am completely impressed with her ability to detect electronic devices, she has the best demeanor, and as my little ones say, ‘She helps catch bad guys,'” Beach said.
Grip was donated through a grant from Defenders for Children, whose mission is to prevent child abuse, trafficking and child pornography.
The canine was gifted to Defenders For Children by Gripple, Inc., a private company that increases awareness regarding sexual abuse and human trafficking.
“Grip is a great addition to the Office and shows our Cybercrimes’ Division strong commitment to using every possible resource to increase child pornography prosecutions,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
“She is already loved by everyone in the office. We will use any tool we can to detect and prosecute those who would engage in heinous crimes against children,” Rinehart said.
The new addition of Grip comes following the retirement of the state’s attorney’s office’s last electronic detection canine, Browser, who left the office in April.
The state’s attorney’s office, alongside Gripple Inc. and Defenders for Children, held a press conference on Wednesday officially introducing Grip.
“It is so important that we invest in every tool possible. And to have a living, breathing, adorable tool to add to our hard drives and our devices in our cyber lab is incredibly exciting,” Rinehart said.
Defenders for Children Founder Toni Clark said canines are another way to help find what is needed to prosecute criminals and rescue children.
“We encourage every law enforcement agency to really open up their hearts, put the women and children on priority on your budget and make sure these dogs are available,” Clark said.