Nikko’s primary role in the department will be to serve as a goodwill ambassador at community service events, meetings, and used to help calm and comfort witnesses, crime victims and anyone who may otherwise be afraid, uncomfortable or nervous.
NEW CASTLE (DE): The New Castle County Police Department announced a new member of their department. Meet Nikko, a 2-year-old facility assistance dog, who was received through the nonprofit organization, Canine Companions for Independence. The organization enhances the lives of people by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.
“It’s about moving our police department forward,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, adding that the dog fosters a sense of community with the people the county serves, even inside the police headquarters building.
Nikko’s primary role in the department will be to serve as a goodwill ambassador at community service events, meetings, and will be used to help calm and comfort witnesses, crime victims and anyone who may otherwise be afraid, uncomfortable or nervous.
During an intensive two-week training program in Long Island, New York, Nikko was matched with facilitator, Master Corporal Chris Gigliotti, who is currently assigned to our Community Services Unit.
At a press conference this morning at New Castle County Police Headquarters, New Castle County Executive Matt Denn, explains Nikko, a 2-year-old lab has already made a difference in the community in his first three weeks on the job.
According to New Castle County Police Chief Vaughn Bond, Nikko, has visited schools and community events and even calmed him on a stressful morning.
Nikko calmed a young girl long enough for detectives to gather evidence from a crime scene. “The whole situation was causing her stress and anxiety,” said Master Cpl. Chris Gigliotti, Nikko’s handler and member of the department’s Community Services Unit. “So we got on the floor and played. We taught her a couple of Nikko’s commands, and after about an hour, she became agreeable to the investigation.”
K9 dogs are utilized in police departments all across the country, but special attention have recently been turned to what role dogs can play with calming victims of crime, and New Castle County Police Department is the first department on the east coast to have a service dog solely dedicated to community outreach and victim’s services.
Gigliotti said he hopes to extend Nikko to kids who may have experienced trauma and are interviewing with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Delaware, an agency that deals specifically with child abuse. He also has been visiting children at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Gigliotti said.
“Nikko has been a godsend,” said Bond, who said, the dog has already had a calming effect on those working at police headquarters. “This is what makes New Castle County police special.”