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Lambert - Another Career First!
Reliable Source, Volume 20, Nov.-Dec. 2007
Santa Ana Police Officers Association,
1607 N. Sycamore, Santa Ana, CA 92701
First U.S. K9s Trained to Detect Cell Phones in Prisons
Over the past months we’ve heard more and more about cell phones being a hot commodity in prisons across the country and the serious threat they pose to security. They are being used to plot escapes, threaten court witnesses, organize crime on the outside, gang violence, drug trafficking, and more.
Contraband and cell phones are being found at work camps, in transportation vehicles, laundry, office equipment, books, packages and construction materials, to name but a few. Among the reliable sources of smuggling cell phones inside are sneaky visitors and corrupt prison guards and prison employees such as cooks and nurses.
With that! Harlen "Lamb" Lambert has added yet another ‘first’ to his lifelong concern for the safety of our communities and his love for law enforcement. He was the first Black to be hired as a police officer for the Santa Ana Police Department, and in Orange County, in 1967. And his second ‘first’? He’s the first to train four dogs (to date) in the United States to sniff and alert to the odor of cell phones for use within the Department of Corrections and the penal system.
Harlen, Principal of All States K-9 Explosives and Drug Detection, has been supporting law enforcement and the private sector with P.O.S.T. certified K9 teams for several years. Reading an article about the struggle prisons are having with the influx of cell phones, he went to work. These cell phone detection dogs are another tool, or deterrent, to help combat the problem in the trafficking of unauthorized devices into correctional facilities in California and across the United States.
The abilities of the K9s were demonstrated in three major correction facilities in California during the month of September: Richard J. Donovan Correction Facility in San Diego, San Quentin Department of Corrections in San Quentin, and at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. Each facility set up the hide scenarios, and the ‘hides’ (cell phones). Prior to the first demonstration ‘Lamb’ and his staff were greeted with disbelief, but by the end of the three site demonstrations, they had standing ovations. The dogs found hides in mattresses, freezers, hollowed-out yellow pages, under water in toilet tanks, spice bottles, heater vents, televisions, under ground, trash containers, vending machines, door frames – to name a few of the forty-six hidden and found.
All this has lead to inquiries, demonstrations, training and sweeps across the United States ….and one more way Harlen can contribute to his love of law enforcement.
Dog Calls: Company Trains K-9s to Sniff Out Contraband Cell Phones
California company has developed a niche training dogs to detect illicit cell phones in correctional facilities.(So what does a cell phone smell like, you ask?)
By Joan Goodchild, Senior Editor
September 11, 2008 — CSO —
Cell phones in US prisons have become the newest threat to security; both inside the facilties and out. The problem is so pervasive that a California-based company has carved out a new niche training dogs to smell them on inmates and in prison cells.
"It's definitely widespread," said Sharon Read of All States K-9 Detection, which claims to be the only company in the US right now that trains dogs for cell phone sniffing. "All departments of corrections across the US are having problems with this. Cells are now considered contraband that is hotter than drugs in prisons."
Read said she and her business partner and husband, Harlen "Lamb" Lambert, got the idea to train dogs for cell phone detection during a vacation in Spain. An official at a U.K.-based prison was being interviewed on a news network about the problem in Europe.
In US prisons, inmates receive cell phones from friends and family smuggling them in during visits, or tossing them over prison walls. The may also be snuck in by bribed prison workers. The devices are often used coordinate serious crimes in the outside world, such as trafficking drugs, planning escapes and even threatening court witnesses, according to the company.
"Inmates talking on their cells, from their cells, has become a serious problem. We're talking about crime, violence, drugs and gang activity, all being initiated from a cell phone," said Lambert.
So what does a cell phone smell like?
"There are several components to a cell phone," said Read. "We don't know what the dogs are smelling. But we can take out pieces like plastic, a battery, a SIMS card, to learn their individual smells. So, it's like baking bread when you are training the dogs. We smell butter, yeast, certain components. But the dog can smell all of it."
All States K-9 Detection has trained dogs to locate cell phones in hidden in places like under mattresses, in freezers, vending machines and carved-out books.
"Nine times out of ten if you find cell phone, you also find drugs, maybe a laptop," said Read. "It all kind of goes together."
Statistics on the number of cell phones in US prisons are not available. However, Maryland and Florida have already passed legislation increasing the penalties for people who provide cell phones to inmates, said Lambert.
Cell Phone Detection Dogs in the U.S. - a little about our history