Maryland Department of Corrections Uses Dogs to Sniff Out Cellphones

The size and versatility of modern cellphones and smartphones pose a significant contraband problem for both local and state correctional facilities.  Cellphones allow inmates to intimidate witnesses, continue to engage in criminal enterprises, and access the Internet.  As reported in a March 11 Gazette.net article, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is retraining some of its drug sniffing dogs to detect cellphone components.

The dogs’ noses are so keen, they can detect the components of a cell phone hidden inside other electronic equipment, such as televisions, [Division of Correction Major Greg Shumake] said.  …

The state currently has three cell phone-sniffing dogs and another undergoing training, he said.  …

Since June 2008, the dogs have found a total of 406 cell phones. The animals located 177 of the 641 cell phones found throughout the prison system this fiscal year, which began July 1, said Erin Julius, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.  …

The dogs, combined with the use of metal detectors and body searches can help reduce the prevalence of cellphone use within correctional facilities.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, the State served as a pilot to test technology that would jam cellphone signals within a jail.  However, the technology is still controversial due to the potential disruption of legitimate cellphone signals located outside of the jail.

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