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Monroe County sheriff gets dog to help stop human trafficking

Deputy Stretch can sniff out electronic devices used in human trafficking and comfort victims.

MONROE, Mich. — Deputy James Liedel of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office got a four-legged companion as part of the K-9 team back in early June.

Stretch, an American yellow Labrador Retriever, was born on July 15, 2020, and has a wet nose perfect for tracking electronic devices in human trafficking and a floppy-eared friendliness perfect for comforting victims.

"Any electronic device that contains memory," Liedel said. "So it's anything from a computer all the way down to a microchip, is what he'll be locating."

The almost-two-year-old canine is certified in electronic device detection, which includes sim cards, SD cards, flash drives, computers, tablets, hard drives and cellphones.

Stretch's role will be to catch the scent of devices the sheriff's office believes to contain evidence connected to human trafficking criminals exploiting children.

Liedel said "it's getting harder and harder" to find people involved in human trafficking, but Stretch's skill set will help in this regard.

The specific scent Stretch sniffs out is not something detectable by humans, Liedel said, and it's a smell that's on electronic devices during and after the manufacturing process.

Stretch will also help comfort victims.

"He's a four-legged, floppy-eared dog that is a little different than your normal K9 dog at a police department," Liedel said. "He'll be helping with a lot of victims who are uncomfortable talking to us."

Stretch was donated to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office by the Shielded Souls Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.

He was named after a deceased member of the club who helped fundraise for the canine.

According to a Facebook post from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Liedel and Stretch's services will be available to all law enforcement agencies in Michigan upon request.

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