Therapy Canine Program
The Marana Unified School District works in close partnership with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department School Resource Officer program. The intent of the School Safety Program allows for the placement of SROs on school grounds to contribute to safe school environments that are conducive to teaching and learning. Their presence on campuses further enhance and support the current school safety program as the officer works hand in hand with school administration to enhance a safe learning environment.
In the 2018-2019 school year, Tortolita Middle School Deputy Brittani Caudillo, was assigned as one of two school resource deputies in Pima County as the handler of a therapy dog! Deputy Echo joined Tortolita Middle School through the Pima County Sheriff’s Department innovative and first-of-its-kind School Resource Officer Therapy Canine Program that provides canine-assisted interventions and activities in schools.
It is known that Law Enforcement officers who utilize therapy canines are less threatening; further enhancing the connection between student and officer. This is an especially important quality as they seek to build connections with teenagers.
Canine interventions can improve student’s social, cognitive and emotional function, through one-on-one or small group interactions. These types of interventions also allow students to learn coping mechanisms that can help with anxiety and mental health concerns. Students will also benefit from participating in various canine-assisted larger group activities utilized as behavior and academic incentives.
While Deputy Echo is primarily based at Tortolita Middle School, he and Deputy Caudillo may also occasionally visit other MUSD schools to provide canine-assisted activities and/or canine interventions.