Rikers inmates with secret cellphones might want to find a new hiding place: The newest member of the Rikers Island patrol force has four legs and a deep affection for the smell of the lithium battery in a phone. The Post is reporting that the Department of Corrections has recently picked up a cell-sniffing pup to work the prison's storied corridors. Can you smell me now?
Secret cellphones are a major problem in prisons across the country, though New York State says it is less of a problem here, because we offer greater access to landline phones than others. "That cuts the demand for the phones for all but hardened criminals, because those who just want to keep in touch with friends, families and lawyers can do so." Last year 85 phones were confiscated in the State system, while 37 phones were confiscated in city prisons over the same period.
Cell-sniffing pooches are trained to focus in on the smell of lithium batteries but can also hone in on chargers and earpieces. They generally cost about $6,000. Like wardogs, however, they work undercover...so Corrections won't even tell the media the pup's name! Anybody got any suggestions? For now we'll just call him Cellblock.