POLICE Magazine

OCT 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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PoliceMag.com 25 when I went to the school. How do you talk to someone who has been through a tragedy like this? What's the first words you say? In this case, the first words were about the dog and it broke the tension." He adds he also brought Clarence to the school a few days before her return to talk to her classmates and teachers. "He helped the entire community through this tragedy, and the donations rolled in to help the family," he says. In another case, the dogs assisted dur- ing a hotel fire. e fire involved homeless families who were living in the hotel. ey were sitting in a bus watching their home burn down. "We brought the dogs onto the bus, and they distracted everyone on the bus. ey played with the dogs rather pened, and the dog is there. ey look at the dog as they share their experiences. ey don't want to look at their team members." Greenfield has used its dogs in a vari- ety of ways. In one situation, there was a house fire and the only people who sur- vived were the father and his daughter; the mother and other children perished in the fire. Gordon brought the dog to visit with surviving family members and Clar- ence helped this young girl throughout the wake and funeral, and upon her re- entry to school. "She could talk to people about the dog rather than the incident. It distracted her from the horrific situation she was going through," he says. "She did the same thing tim/witness and investigators; to provide comfort for people during times of crisis; and to provide aid and comfort to individ- uals, groups and communities impacted by violence, tragedy or traumatic events." e policy also stresses the dog is a "valuable tool in fostering dialog and communications between the police de- partment and the community we serve." As such, the comfort dog can be "used in the department's community policing ef- forts with its community policing team." e goal whenever a comfort dog is used during a crisis is to "calm people down then push them off to the resources they need. We also do a lot of work with first responders, especially in debriefings. e first responders talk about what hap- PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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