FBI Special Agent Calandra and his K9 partner Iris with Simon Prins (left) and Marga Kubbe (right) of the Dutch police.

By Annabelle Zandbergen
Public Diplomacy, Press and Culture, Royal Netherlands Embassy

The world is familiar with dogs that can sniff out bombs in suitcases, drugs hidden in houses or cars, and even corpses buried under layers of dirt.

But a dog that can find a hidden USB stick?

That would be Iris. And on March 21, Dutch police attaché Marga Kubbe visited the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., to watch Iris, a black Labrador retriever, track down data carriers.

It was an impressive task, Kubbe said, because data carriers are often small and hidden in places one would not expect.

According to her business card, Iris is the first dog that specializes in electronic storage detection.

“The dog is able to find hidden data carriers, such as USB sticks and microchips,” Kubbe said.

This is a skill the police can use when searching houses or investigating crimes such as possessing child pornography.

The intensive FBI training program also involves laboratory work to make sure Iris knows which substances she must find.

“Science is one of the strong features of the FBI dog training program,” said Simon Prins of the Dutch police, who joined Kubbe on her visit.

Both the United States and the Netherlands have great expertise in dog training programs, but they train their special agents differently.

“By sharing knowledge, we can reinforce each other’s power,” Prins said.

Prins works for the Dutch police department that is constantly looking for innovative projects around to globe, with the intention to implement those in the Netherlands.

Although it is not clear if special agent Iris will visit the Netherlands, both police departments intend to continue working with each other.