The Pinal County Attorney’s Office has one cuddly team member working in the Victim Services Division. Pilot, a Golden Labrador Retriever, is the facility dog trained to work with victims of crime.
As a victim of a crime, the trauma and intimidation of the criminal justice system are often hard for young victims. Pilot can provide calming, comforting support for these victims throughout the often stressful criminal justice process. Pilot and his handler have special training that allows them to perform this important function in a variety of behavioral situations and to remain focused when working with outside noises including sirens, emergency workers and even gavels.
In addition to attending court hearings, a court facility dog like Pilot accompanies victims during interviews and meetings related to their case. They offer a reassuring presence for victims as they prepare testimony, give depositions and, in some instances, confront perpetrators. The Arizona legislature provides that a victim under eighteen years of age shall be allowed to have a certified facility dog accompany them while testifying in court. The court may allow adult victims and witness to utilize a facility dog, however that is at the discretion of the judge. ARS 13-442.
Pilot spends many hours each week in the County Attorney’s Office and happily interacts with PCAO employees.