Cell-Phone Sniffing Dogs Come to Rikers

Dogs are trained to follow the scent of lithium batteries.

Monday, Nov 7, 2011  |  Updated 8:17 AM EDT
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The dogs typically cost about $6,000 each.

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They can smell you now.

Dogs trained to find cell phones by following the scent of lithium batteries will soon be prowling the grounds at Rikers Island, according to The New York Post.

The prison hopes the $6,000 canines will curb the use of illicit mobile devices, which inmates often use to orchestrate drug deals or conduct other criminal outside business.

Jail officials monitor land-line calls, but can’t track cell calls they don’t know are being made within the privacy of inmates’ cells.

Aside from sniffing out cell phones, the Post reports the dogs are also able to track mobile accessories like chargers and earpieces.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman told the Post cell phones pose “a serious risk to staff and inmates,” but did not elaborate.

She also declined to offer details of the program as well as the name of the vendor.

The cell-phone sniffing dogs are already in use in other states. Statistics on the canines' effectiveness in those areas weren’t readily available.

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