Manatee Sheriff's Office K9 featured in 'People'

- There's one face at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office everyone has come to know and love. Gia is a crime-fighting dog; working along with detectives, she uses her nose to sniff out hidden electronics, like hard drives and cameras. 

Not many law enforcement agencies have dogs like Gia , which is why she is getting some national attention for it. "People Magazine" will feature her in their annual pet award issue, which comes out Friday.

"She comes with us every day to the office. She's a part of our unit," said Det. Jaime Rivera. "She is ready to work. Very energetic everyday."

Gia works with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force as a device detecting dog. She searches for devices like thumb drives, hard drives and SD cards - tools that could contain child pornography.

"With her, she can sniff it out and let us know what areas she is hitting on, and we can take it from there," said Det. Rivera.

Since Gia joined the team at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, she's worked on more than a dozen cases and her keen senses help her detect key pieces of evidence that are often times hidden.

"There are instances were devices like that have been hidden in walls, other locations where it is very difficult for us to locate it. She has found some devices that have been missed by other detectives," said Det. Rivera.

"We think that this is going to be great exposure," said Sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow.

Manatee deputies said Gia has changed the face of fighting crime and they're hopeful other agencies will follow their lead.

"Just  to get the exposure and let other law enforcement agencies know what we are doing here and the fact that you can work with dogs to get them to do certain things. They are going to aid in investigations that they never thought about," said Bristow. 

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