Southern California K9s Join Forces to Combat Child Predators and Protect Communities

In a dedicated effort to safeguard children and communities, a specialized team of K9s is working diligently to monitor registered sex offenders and track down potential threats.

Meet Chewie and Solo, these extraordinary K9s are not your typical canine companions. As professionally trained electronic scent detection dogs, their full-time mission is to assist the Riverside County Child Exploitation Team in apprehending predators. These remarkable dogs are instrumental in the fight against child exploitation, and they play an integral role within the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office task force.

Chewie and Solo possess the exceptional ability to detect electronic scents, allowing them to identify various devices and technology that may contain critical evidence needed by law enforcement. Joel Pabelico of the Riverside County Child Exploitation Team explained, “Pretty much anything that can store digital media, whether it’s a cell phone, a USB, a micro SD card, an external hard drive, iPads, and more.”

Following meticulous investigation and surveillance, the task force proceeds with a search warrant before deploying Chewie and Solo.

Jason Polanco from the Riverside County Child Exploitation Team elaborated on the suspects they track down, stating, “So that could be something as simple as possession of child pornography, to an adult wanting to meet and engage a minor in sex acts, as well as distributing, manufacturing.”

Chewie and Solo’s remarkable olfactory senses were demonstrated during a simulation run, where they instantaneously located and identified a mobile phone, exemplifying their invaluable role in safeguarding children.

The task force’s relentless efforts have borne fruit in 2023, resulting in the arrest of 91 individuals and the execution of 441 search warrants.

With Halloween night approaching, when families and children partake in trick-or-treating, authorities are maintaining a high level of vigilance in monitoring and tracking registered sex offenders to ensure their compliance with registration requirements. “There are safeguards in place, so to speak, where the registered sex offenders within our county, they’re not supposed to be handing out candy on Halloween,” said Pabelico.

While the intention is not to sow fear, officials aim to raise awareness among the public and community members about potential threats. They emphasize the importance of parents familiarizing themselves with local sex offender registries like Megan’s Law, which are accessible to the public. Additionally, parents and guardians are encouraged to accompany their children during trick-or-treating and remain vigilant about their activities online, especially on social media platforms.

As the Riverside County Child Exploitation Team continues its relentless pursuit of protecting children, Chewie and Solo serve as a crucial line of defense against child predators, ensuring that communities remain safe for the young and vulnerable.

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