Canine Tera(byte) to help Lake County Sheriff 's Office combat human trafficking, child exploitation

  • Tera and her handler, Lake County sheriff's Detective Corey Kemp, worked their first shift Monday.

    Tera and her handler, Lake County sheriff's Detective Corey Kemp, worked their first shift Monday. Courtesy of Lake County Sheriff's Office

 
 
Updated 8/15/2022 5:55 PM

The newest crime fighter for the Lake County sheriff's office is a 1½-year-old Labrador retriever specially trained to find electronic devices.

Tera(byte), an electronic storage detection police dog, comes on board as the latest resource for investigating child exploitation and human trafficking cases.

 

She is trained to locate items with an internal storage device, including cellular phones, tablets, computers, flash drives, SD cards and many other electronic items.

She and partner Corey Kemp, a detective who specializes in cases involving internet crimes against children, human trafficking, and online financial crimes, worked their first shift Monday.

When investigating child exploitation and human trafficking cases, it is not uncommon for the suspect to hide images and videos on electronic devices, and then conceal those devices in a building or home, according to sheriff's Deputy Chief Chris Covelli.

When search warrants are conducted, Tera will be able to walk room to room and locate any hidden electronics, he said.

The sheriff's office went through an application process and was selected by Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit with the mission of ending human trafficking and child exploitation, Covelli said.

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The organization donated Tera and provided all her food, medical, housing, and training costs.

Kemp and Tera recently completed their initial training and now are a certified canine team ready to be deployed 24/7, Covelli said.

The pair also will assist municipal departments as requested, he added. Tera will come to the office every day with Kemp.

"She will have her own rest area and roam around the detective division when she isn't busy," Covelli said.

Tera joins a team of sheriff's police dogs that includes Axel, Boomer, Danno, Dax, Duke, Echo and Ryker.

"She will be a major asset in our fight against human trafficking and child exploitation," Sheriff John D. Idleburg said in a news release.

"I know Canine Tera will do great things for Lake County, just as her seven sheriff's office canine colleagues and their handlers have over the years."

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