Kevlar is the only four-legged member of the #FBI victim assistance team.
Based in Nashville, Tenn., Kevlar the dog and his human handler help out with children and other crime victims that find dogs calming and therapeutic. Kathryn Turman, the program director for the FBI's Office for Victim Assistance, said Friday that Kevlar has so far been on about 15 cases.
"He's a rookie," Turrman said. "He's very enthusiastic."
Kevlar replaces Dolce, a German Shepherd/Siberian Husky mix who was trained by Rachel Pierce to be the FBI's first therapy dog. Dolce, Turman said "just retired; he got old."
Turman and Joye Frost, principal deputy director for the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime, got together Friday at FBI Headquarters to discuss their work. Turman used to be at Main Justice, until FBI Director Robert Mueller brought her over in 2001 to establish the bureau's victims assistance office.
The work, inevitably, can be inherently poignant, if not painful. Details matter. Turman, for instance, noted how her victims assistance specialists use special blue boxes to return treasured objects, like wedding rings, to loved ones.
"It's a tough job," Turman said. "Very demanding."
The Justice Department's program administers the Crime Victims Fund, which collects money from federal offenders and distributes it to states and other beneficiaries. Congress sets an annual cap on how much can be distributed, currently set at $730 million.
The Fund pays for some, but not all, of Turman's FBI staffers, who include some 122 victims specialists nationwide, as well as about 29 headquarters staff and an assortment of specialists.
"It's come a long, long way," Turman said of the FBI's efforts.