FBI Crisis Response Canines
Wally and Giovanni are the FBI’s new Crisis Response Canines, part of a pilot program recently launched by the FBI's Office for Victim Assistance.
Staci Beers, Victim assistance rapid deployment team coordinator, FBI Office for Victim Assistance: So Wally and Gio are members of our crisis response team. They are the first two FBI Crisis Response Canines and they go out to work with the victims of the event as well as the first responders.
We recently had the out in San Bernardino. They did hospital visits. They also worked command posts. There were several command post so they went and helped the first responders who were actually requested at a number of the command posts to assist the first responders, giving them some downtime.
David Bowditch, FBI associate deputy director: The command post was a lot of people in there it was very tight and small it's, not set up for that. People are under stress, they're working long hours, nights, weekends. A lot of pressure. Those dogs were great. They roamed the area and I saw many occasions, agents and detectives from the task force and just employees that would take the time to pet them. What it is is a distraction and it's a good distraction.
Kathryn Turman, associate director, FBI Office for Victim Assistance: The crisis response canine program was kind of a natural evolution of our work with developing the victim assistance rapid deployment team. We knew when we arranged to get the dogs that we wanted them not just for victim assistance response, but also for staff care.
The entire Bureau works at a very fast pace. We deal with some of the worst things that happen in the world and it's very stressful for people. And just around the building, within our office, the dogs seem to lighten the mood. They help people sort of relax make them smile. Walking around the building you can see the reaction.
Melody Tiddle, victim assistance rapid deployment team analyst, FBI Office for Victim Assistance: Just simply having the dogs around brings stress levels down for both victims and responders.
Beers: I can't even imagine how many lives these canines will touch because the amount of work that we've been able to do with them in just a short amount of ime has shown us what the future could potentially look like.
Turman: We are always looking for ways to make the unthinkable a little easier for people who experience it directly as victims and families, but also for the responders in the FBI and some of our partner agencies that also were impacted by those events but can't always show it and can't walk away from their job and go somewhere else at the moment to try to find a way to cope with what they're dealing with so it's been a very positive experience for us and one that I think has a large benefit for the FBI and speaking for myself it's not a good day if I don't have a dog hair on my slacks.
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