Parkersburg Police Dept. receiving new K9 donation from Operation Underground Railroad

WTAP News @ 11 - Parkersburg Police Dept. receiving new K9 donation from Operation Underground Railroad
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 6:20 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - “In my eyes, if we have one bust that’s too many. I mean if we have any sex trafficking in our city, that’s too many for our city,” says Parkersburg city councilwoman, Sharon Kuhl. “We have children and that’s or number one concern is the kids in our area.”

The Parkersburg Police Department is getting a new resource to investigate sex trafficking in the area. It’s coming in the form of a new electronic storage device detection K9.

“This K9 will work towards keeping this area safe. As to where, we have a detective dedicated to child exploitation and child-based crimes, this will be a tremendous tool in regard to locating evidence that will help him adjudicate the crimes in which he spends his entirety of his working career on right now,” says Parkersburg police chief, Matt Board. “You know, imagine going into a home and find something like a one terabyte micro-SD card with the human eye. This dog is trained to locate that regardless of where it’s at in the house.”

The donation is from Operation Underground Railroad – a group dedicated to helping law enforcement stop any human and sex trafficking.

Parkersburg will be the only department in the state with this type of K9.

“I’m just so proud of our police department. And the city of Parkersburg,” says Kuhl. “Very honored that Operation Underground Railroad chose our department. It speaks a lot.”

The K9 is trained to find hard drives that could potentially contain illegal material of minors and recording devices hidden in the area. Board says that as crimes continue to use more technology, resources like the K9 will help.

“So, if they’re trafficking criminal images or whatever, we have to find something to combat that,” says Board. “So, now that that’s become more prevalent, we have something to combat that with. And I’m just really proud that Parkersburg is taking the initiative to where we can help not just Parkersburg but surrounding areas, if need be, with utilization of the dog to curve this.”

Operation Underground Railroad will also be providing all veterinary care, certification and food for the dog. The K9 will be used by the “Internet Crimes Against Children” division in the department.

A resolution will be presented at Parkersburg city council on Tuesday to finalize the donation of the K9.