COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Officials with the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (SCDPPPS) said they have a new tool to stop child predators.

At the State House Monday afternoon, the agency welcomed K-9 Chip. He’s an electronic detection K-9 assigned to support their Digital Forensics Unit.

Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) said, “It’s unusual to have such a powerful weapon for law enforcement come in such a beautiful, fuzzy package.”

K-9 Chip is a one-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever-labrador mix. He completed his electronic detection training along with his handler last month. Chip has already been put to work.

He will join agents on searches of homes of nearly 700 registered sex offenders under the department’s supervision. Through his training, K-9 Chip can detect chemical compounds found in electronics like hard drives, memory cards, and cell phones.

“Flash drives can be as small as a penny and can be difficult for humans to find,” explained SCDPPPS Director Jerry Adger. “These electronic devices can hold a surplus of evidence of child exploitation used by sex offenders.”

K-9 Chip is also the first certified electronic detection K-9 to join a state probation and parole agency. He was donated to SCDPPPS by Spectrum, the non-profit Defenders for Children, the Order of the Eastern Star of South Carolina Grand Chapter and others.

Defenders for Children CEO Toni Clark said, “It’s very important that every search involved in children’s crimes has one of these K-9s.”

Clark said, on average, an electronic detection K-9 is able to locate two or more devices missed by law enforcement during a search.

K-9 Chip is the seventh electronic detection K-9 to be placed with a law enforcement agency in South Carolina and Georgia with the help of Defenders for Children.