Tippecanoe School Corporation
K9 visitor digs up interest in forensics
Sue Scott

Students at McCutcheon High School and Harrison High School met the newest tool in the high tech crime unit of the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office. It’s an electronic storage detection dog, named Roger. The labrador retriever demonstrated to several classes how he can find digital storage devices such as cell phones, computers, thumb drives and other digital storage devices.

Digital Forensics Analyst and K9 handler Courtney Russell says Roger tracks the scene for a chemical used in the manufacturing process of storage devices, such as SIM cards and SD cards. Russell gave a presentation about Roger’s role and tips on staying safe online. Then, Roger demonstrated his ability to detect electronic devices. Russell targeted different areas and when Roger detected something he would sit until Russell said “show me” then point his nose toward it.

“It was cool to see some of the lesser-known capabilities of K9 units, and how a dog as sweet and lovable as Roger could be used to solve criminal cases,” says McCutcheon junior Cary Swick.

“The major thing I took away from the presentation was that technology is much more important to solving crimes than I believe anyone realized,” says Harrison senior Luke Weston. “Everything is stored online somewhere and can be found, which is something everyone needs to remember.”

Harrison science teacher Melissa Keown says the demonstration allowed students to see that forensics can be more than just working in a lab: “This is a new field with new opportunities for those individuals. I think my students saw that this field is growing and there are some amazing opportunities to get involved now.”

McCutcheon science teacher Sam McClellan says he is always looking for ways to expose students to different ways that physics is used in the real world. “I also enjoy bringing in law enforcement officers to present to my students to try and humanize our officers,” says McClellan. “I do not want my students to fear police so the more often I can bring officers into the classroom, the better.”