Golden Retriever joins DPS to help distressed employees

FOX 10's Kristy Siefkin has the details on how "Fallon" finds electronic evidence for the Dept. of Public Safety and comforts staffers.

- A Golden Retriever has joined the ranks of the Arizona Department of Public Safety in an effort to provide comfort to employees in need.

DPS says Fallon will help provide calm and comfort to distressed detectives at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Intelligence Center. The 2-year-old dog has a number of special skills, including the ability to sniff out "digital evidence."

2-year-old Fallon was donated to DPS by the 100 Club and two troopers have already received special handler training for the dog's arrival.

DPS says Fallon will be especially vital in helping out computer forensic detectives, who frequently view evidence involved in sex crimes against children. These disturbing images can have lasting emotional effects on detectives and Fallon is trained to sense emotional distress from people and provide support.

 "The idea of an assistance dog that relieves stress makes a world of difference to detectives who must deal with disturbing investigations," said Carey Dillabo, who is an Associate Director of Power Paws Assistance Dogs. "Just sitting with and petting the dog provides stress relief for our law enforcement partners.

"She can search in a building and find electronic media electronic evidence that's in a building or in a room.. she's able to sniff it out and let the detectives know where that is so it helps us with our collection of evidence to prosecute these horrific crimes," said DPS Director Frank Milstead.

Fallon learned her special skills from Power Paws, a non-profit that also trains assistance dogs for children and vets. Fallon not only helps collect evidence, but also helps ease stress for detectives, who have to view horrific footage and images of child crimes day after day. 

"She is an amazing animal and just that interaction with the dog to take the detective's mind off what they're seeing, just to decompress just a little bit helps lift the spirits of the detectives and allows them to continue with their day," said Milstead.

Thanks to funding from the 100 Club and Those Without a Voice, Fallon has become an invaluable member of the DPS team, ready and eager to help anyone de-stress - even those without a badge.


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