Dogs trained to find cellphones in prisons
July 10th, 2008

The State of Maryland has three dogs – and having more trained – that can go into a prison cell and sniff out a hidden cellphone, as described in a Washington Post report and video. The importance of finding the devices is explained, but the trainer is “not about to give away” how he is able to train dogs to find and identify the concealed phones. The report, in part:

We could all use one from time to time: a dog that can find the darn cellphone. Maryland has three. Their job is to sniff out phones smuggled into prisons. . . .

The state’s trained dogs — Tazz and Rudd, along with Alba — could be the solution to a problem facing prison administrators nationwide, a solution taking hold in the Washington region.

Smuggled cellphones allow inmates to run criminal enterprises, threaten witnesses and warn fellow inmates about the movements of correctional officers, state officials said.

“Cellphones are perhaps the worst type of contraband,” Gary D. Maynard, Maryland’s secretary of public safety and correctional services, said yesterday. “In most cases, they provide an easy, continuing connection back to the inmate’s life on the street.”

As cellphones have become smaller, they have become easier to hide. They are smuggled into prisons by inmates on work-release programs, visiting family members, contractors working in the facilities and corrections officers, state officials said. In some cases, phones have been tossed over fences to prisoners, officials said.

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