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Meet K9 Solo, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office newest Electronic Scent Detection dog

We’re getting to know a special team member with Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. 

Solo is a two-year-old English Labrador, and the newest member of the county's Child Exploitation Team. 

Jason Polanco, Senior DA Investigator with Riverside County said, "I believe there's four Electronic Scent Detection dogs (in the state of California), and we're fortunate enough to have actually two of them assigned to our task force."

Polanco and K9 Solo are partners on and off the clock.

"The mission of our task force specifically is to combat child predators within our county," said Investigator Polanco.

Based off cyber tips they receive from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, they pursue an investigation and an arrest if needed. 

During the investigation the dogs use their powerful snouts to search for electronic storage devices, like a micro SIM card that may be storing illegal content. 

What might take detectives hours to find, Solo and his investigators can track down in just a matter of minutes.

At times Investigator Polanco and Solo team up with K9 Chewie and his trainer to carry out their operation. 

"We’ll both go to a residence and depending on the size, and the scene we'll determine if we're going to use one dog or two dogs," said Investigator Polanco.

So far this year the Riverside County Child Exploitation team has made 69 arrests,15 probation searches, 21 compliance checks and carried out 413 search warrants.

Those results are truly a team effort. Solo works mostly on the East end of the county and is stationed in Indio – while Chewie stays on the West side of the county in Riverside. 

As for their names, Investigator Polanco shared, "Chewie was already named after Chewbacca. And so we thought it was only appropriate to name Solo, Han Solo and keep that Star Wars theme going."

Next week Solo flies out to Indiana with Investigator Polanco for his annual recertificiation.

"Our trainer wants to know, 'Hey, is Solo still on that scent? Is he able to find the devices the way he was taught?'" said Investigator Polanco.

Although he’s a key player on the team, at the end of the day, Solo is to Polanco what a lot of pets are to their owners, a trusted companion. 

"When we’re out investigating these types of crimes we’re having to come across some images that are pretty disturbing. So he definitely is an emotional support dog for us on the team, and well for some of the attorneys that we work with directly too," said Investigator Polanco.

Both Solo and Chewie are fully funded by a grant provided by Operation Underground Railroad that cover the dogs’ annual trainings. 

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Bianca Ventura

Bianca Ventura joined KESQ News Channel 3 as a reporter in February 2022.


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