WELL WE OCCASIONALLY USE RATS TO CONDUCT FOREIGN AND DEFENSE POLICIES….RSK
Police in the Netherlands are hoping to save money by training rats to sniff out things like drugs and gunshot residue. The animals are cheaper and faster than traditional lab work — and they’re very accurate.
“Derrick” is unbeatable. He’s right in 98.8 percent of all cases, the kind of accuracy only machines can achieve. But Derrick is no machine. He’s part of an elite group of sewer rats currently being trained in Rotterdam to sniff out drugs, gunpowder or traces of other substances that cling to someone after they’ve committed a crime.
Shooting a gun leaves behind gunshot residue that until now could only be detected in a costly laboratory. Dutch police, under pressure to save money, now see Derrick and his four classmates as a cheaper and faster option than traditional science. The project’s potential savings has won it the support of the police’s “innovation manager.”
Derrick is named after the protagonist of a popular German TV series that ran from the 1970s through the 1990s — and also enjoyed a loyal following in the Netherlands. The four other mice are also named after famous fictional detectives: Magnum, Poirot and Thomson and Thompson from “The Adventures of Tin Tin.”
They’re kept in the darkened room of a small house in the northeast of Rotterdam, next to storage space for ropes, blankets and the equipment belonging to the canine unit. The noise of the nearby highway provides a backdrop to the barking of police dogs, whose training grounds, complete with tunnels and miniature bridges, lies behind the building. The horses are here, too, making the rats police animal No. 3.