Meet Max, the hidden electronic sniffing K-9 helping fight child porn in Georgia

Murray County has a weapon to find electronic devices criminals try to hide from authorities.

His name is Max, a three-year-old English lab.

“He’s an asset to our agency and any agency that reaches out,” Murray County Sheriff Jimmy Davenport told Channel 2′s Michael Doudna.

Max is one of less than a half dozen Electronic detection K-9s in the state. They are trained to smell and locate hidden electronic devices down to the size of a Micro SD card.

Sheriff Deputy Melinda Flood first proposed trying to get an electronic detection K-9 after reading a blurb about one during an internet crime against children training.

She was able to get a grant to help pay for the dog and the training. She now works as Max’s handler.

“We can either be on the cutting edge of this, or we can be behind the wave,” Flood said.

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Flood says the dogs are trained to smell Triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO), a chemical used on almost every electronic device.

“That chemical is on any device that has memory. So it is sprayed on the memory board, and it’s keeping it from overheating,” Flood said.

Flood says studies have shown dogs were 3x more effective in locating hidden electronic devices than humans.

“You don’t realize it until you get those results after the phones and the devices,” Flood said.

Just last week, Max helped find a hidden cell phone containing child pornography during a search of a Gainsville man.

“Through the assistance of Max, we were able to tack on 29 other additional felony charges related to this case,” Gainesville Police LT. Kevin Holbrook said.

Holbrook said he didn’t know electronic detection K-9s existed until he was informed Max would be assisting in the execution of a search warrant at the home of 66-year-old Danny White.


Max also helped in a case in Bartow County where he found another hidden cell phone with child pornography in an air conditioning vent last year. Flood says that the man was just sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Flood believes as more departments learn to believe in the program, Max will get more chances to fight crime.

“Once they start learning to trust the program, we are not going to have a day off, which is perfectly fine. We will work as much as they let us,” Flood said.

Max is shared with any department that requests his services. He is the only K-9 of his classification that is active full-time north of Atlanta.

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