Joanne Baker is the President and Managing Director of Righteous Pups Australia, Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Min, and her Certificate in Workplace Training from Tabor Bible College in Sydney, Australia. In addition, she earned her Certificate IV in Professional Dog Training through the National Dog Trainers Federation. She also has a Master of Science – Canine Science through Bergin University of Canine Studies in Santa Rosa, California.
Thomas Beeson is the Chief Criminal Investigator for the Terrebonne Parish District Attorney’s Office. With over 46 years in law enforcement, he holds the rank of Captain with the Sheriff’s office. He has 30 years’ experience with the SWAT team, the K-9 Division, as shift commander, and as Assistance Commander of the Narcotics Unit. He has been working with his facility dog for over six years, and they average 120 interviews a year and have been on about twelve jury trials.
Kim Carroll is a Senior Victim Advocate with the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Olympia Washington where she is currently assigned to the Felony Domestic Violence Team. Ms. Carroll has been employed as an advocate with Thurston County for over 21 years, serving victims from a variety of crimes such as Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and General Felony type crimes. Ms. Carroll holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with double majors in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Central Washington University. She is also a credentialed Advanced Level Advocate by the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Recently she has been certified as a Program Leader by the Courthouse Dogs Foundation for the inclusion of Accredited Facility Dogs in the legal system in accordance with best practices. Ms. Carroll often presents to local high schools and law enforcement agencies on best practices in the field of Domestic Violence, Crime Victim Rights, and the incorporation of a Courthouse Facility Dog in victim services.
Carrie-Leigh Cloutier is the Chief Executive Officer of the Chaves County CASA Program in Roswell, New Mexico. Her program serves thousands of children every year in a constellation of programs that include Court Appointed Special Advocates, Supervised Visitation, two Children’s Advocacy Centers, Youth Programs, Courthouse Facility Dogs, Alternative Education, Therapy, a Family Resource Center, Crisis Response Team, and more. She is proud to be the handler of Zia the Courthouse CASA Dog. Carrie-Leigh is non-profit consultant and public speaker, as well as a yoga and meditation teacher.
Camille Cooper serves as the vice president of public policy at RAINN, where she leads efforts at the federal and state level to improve the criminal justice system, prevent sexual assault, and ensure justice for survivors.
At RAINN, Cooper’s work focuses on efforts to secure funding for sexual violence programming, eliminate the large volume of untested and unanalyzed forensic evidence from sexual assault cases, known as the rape kit backlog, address campus sexual violence, and protect children against sexual violence.
Cooper has more than 20 years of experience in federal and state political legislative drafting, strategy, and lobbying on topics related to child protection, child exploitation, anti-child trafficking, as well as gender and media. She has a demonstrated history of creating and lobbying for legislation, working on both large-scale and local issues, supporting high-impact policy solutions, and securing appropriations.
Prior to joining RAINN, Cooper served as director of government affairs and director of legislative affairs at the National Association to Protect Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. She also wrote and lobbied for Virginia’s Diversity and Gender Equity law that requires statewide revision of curricula to promote awareness of the contribution of women, people of color, and individuals with disabilities.
Gary Dawson has been a prosecutor his entire legal career. From 1996 through 2008 he was a prosecutor in the St. Lawrence County (Canton, NY) and the Onondaga County (Syracuse, NY) District Attorney’s Office. He became a member of the Onondaga County DA’s Office Special Victims Bureau in 2001. He was promoted to Deputy Bureau Chief of Special Victims in 2006, and then Bureau Chief in 2008. This bureau specialized in prosecuting some of the most sensitive of all crimes –those involving children, child and adult sexual assaults, and domestic violence. He has also handled numerous computer-related cases against children and was appointed a Special United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York for prosecutions of child pornography. He joined the 18th Judicial District DA’s Office in October of 2008, and was a Senior Deputy in the Special Victims Unit from April 2009 through December 2015. He now is a Chief Deputy over trial attorneys in a general felony docket.
He has spoken to numerous public, service, and law enforcement agencies on issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and criminal law. Over his career, in addition to SVU cases, he has prosecuted cases covering virtually all facets of criminal law, including homicides, narcotics, fraud, DUI, and arson.
A native of Southern California, he tries to cope with the lack of gridlock traffic (which he misses so very much), and the lack of smog, earthquakes, mudslides, Kardashians, and the astronomical cost of housing in Los Angeles by downhill skiing, following the Yankees, hiking, drawing cartoons, being one of those insufferable CrossFit people, and relaxing with his pets which currently consist of one dog, three cats, and some fish.
Tambra Donohue, Ph.D., is the Director of Monarch Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center, a nationally-accredited child advocacy center with a co-located partner model. She is committed and passionate about furthering the work of effective and compassionate response to child abuse and supports the courthouse facility dog programs as a highly effective means to mitigate trauma experienced by children and families. She is responsible for the daily operations of the Center, convenes a coordinated multi-disciplinary team response to child abuse and provides administration/supervisory oversight to the family advocacy program, crime victims centers, and forensic interviewing program. Tambra also serves as the clinical supervisor to the Center’s mental health program, training master’s and doctoral interns in specialized treatment of abuse. She is the primary handler for the Courthouse Dog Facility Program (Astro), one of the first programs to utilize multiple co-handlers throughout the Center’s service points (medical, forensic interviewing, mental health, meet and greets, defense interviews and courthouse support). Tambra currently serves on the board of director for the Child Advocacy Centers of Washington.
Emily Dreiling is the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager for the United States Air Force at Vandenberg AFB, Santa Barbara County, CA. Emily is the handler of Courthouse Facility Dog, Preston from TLCAD. Emily was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. Emily holds a Master of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Missouri. During her time UCM she served as a graduate teaching assistant for the TRIO Student Support Services Program. Emily joined the Air Force as a federal employee in 2003, at RAF Alconbury, UK, and has the opportunity to work in England, Missouri, Colorado, and California over the last 15 years. Emily was appointed as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager at Vandenberg AFB in 2016, and has the opportunity to the lead a team of 37 victim advocates both military and civilian in response and prevention of sexual assault in the Air Force. The Vandenberg AFB SAPR program has been recognized as the top SAPR program is the Air Force Space Command for the last two years. Emily is very passionate about continuing to build relationships with the civilian community and has been actively involved as an instructor with the Department of Justice and Department of Defense SAPRO training program “Strengthening Military-Civilian Community Partnerships to Respond to Sexual Assault”.
Peggy Frye has worked for the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office, Victims Unit for 14 years, specializing in domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse cases. She has been the supervisor of the unit since 2007, working directly with the elected prosecutor to ensure victims’ rights are being met. In August 2015, she graduated team training in Oceanside, California and welcomed her canine partner, Ken III. Ken and Peggy were the second facility dog team to go to work in Idaho.
In 2016, Peggy assisted in writing legislation to allow facility dogs to accompany child witnesses on the state in the State of Idaho. She played an instrumental part in convincing the Idaho Legislature and Governor to change the law to include a facility dog as part of the criminal justice process and to be allowed in courtrooms across the state. In July 2017, Idaho Code 19-3023 was amended and signed into law allowing trained facility dogs on the stand with children.
In 2017, Peggy obtained grant funding to open LillyBrooke Family Justice Center with a mission to help break down the barriers and fears children hold when recounting their stories to law enforcement, and promote team approaches to investigating child abuse. LillyBrooke is the only Family Justice Center with a co-located CAC run solely through a law enforcement entity in the State of Idaho. As Founder and Director of the Center, Peggy is responsible for the grant acquisition, reporting and compliance, as well as strategic planning and community engagement. She also carries the role of MDT Coordinator and Child Forensic Interviewer.
Kim Gramlich is the Coordinator of Delta Police Victim Services where she has served for the past 19 years. She has worked in the field of Victim Services for over 24 years. Kim has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in Leadership and Training with a specialization in Justice and Public Safety. Kim began the first Victim Services Facility Dog program in Canada, along with her PADS dog, Caber. Kim founded “Justice Facility Dogs Canada”, a network connecting Facility Dogs in Victim Services, Child Advocacy Centres and other justice-related work across Canada. Kim and her dog, Caber have been on several disaster response deployments and also responded with 8 other teams to the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas. Kim is highly passionate about the transformational assistance facility dogs provide to victims of crime and trauma.
Jim Ha, PhD, CAAB earned a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from Colorado State Univ. (1989), and professional credentialing as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) in 2004. After a 26-year academic career studying social behavior in several species of birds and mammals including dogs and cats, he is currently an Emeritus Research Professor at the Univ. of Washington. He is co-director of the University of Washington’s Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior education program, and co-Principal Investigator with Purdue University’s Center for Animal Welfare Science, aiding their major research program on commercial breeding of dogs. He has just published his first popular book, Dog Behavior: Modern Science and Our Canine Companions, with his co-author Tracy Campion.
Joey Iversen has had over 16 years of experience training and showing both dogs and horses, working with all breeds of dogs and their owners. Her calm, patient manner makes it easy for people and dogs to understand and learn from her. Joey received her Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) title from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Joey has received a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior from the University of Washington. She is a graduate of the Dog Trainer Program at Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior and is a member of the TAGteach Faculty and Instructor for The Victoria Stillwell Academy. She is also a Professional Service Dog Trainer. Joey has reinforced her knowledge by attending hundreds of seminars, training sessions, and workshops given by internationally renowned experts.
Major Madeleine Jean Jensen is the Future Weapons Program Manager for the Armament Systems Development Division at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. She was promoted to the rank of Major on 1 May 2019. She leads the Investment Planning Council which synergizes technology investments providing solutions for warfighter capability gaps.
Prior to her current position, Major Jensen served as the Community Outreach Program Manager and Deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Hill Air Force Base, Utah. She was directly accountable for the care and support of victims of sexual assault as well as educating 35,000 Airmen on sexual assault awareness and prevention.
Major Jensen is a native Texan and graduate of Texas Lutheran University. She received her commission from Texas State University as a cadet of Detachment 840 Reserve Officer Training Corps where she met her husband. After receiving her commission, she attended Intelligence Officer technical training at Goodfellow Air Force Base. She served over 3 years as an Intelligence Officer before she transitioned into the Acquisition career field (63A) as a part of the Operational Exchange Program. She is also the proud mother of two daughters, Katherine (age 6) and Rachel (age 2).
Bart Leger, Ph.D. is recently retired from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He is also the Special Response Director for Southern Law Enforcement Foundation, the Law Enforcement Critical Incident Stress Management Team for the State of Louisiana. There, he and Treasure respond to critical incidents involving first responders as well those touched by mass victimization events. He is currently serving the FBI in the Employee Assistance Unit as a chaplain.
Dr. Leger, a board-certified expert in traumatic stress, is also the founder of The Stress Care Doc, LLC providing Peer Counseling/Support Team development and training for business, industry, healthcare and first responder agencies. He also provides suicide intervention gatekeeper training, building resiliency in child abuse organizations training, and instruction in compassion fatigue and self-care for organizations who deal with trauma and abuse victims. He is also an Approved Instructor for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (CISM).
Teresa Loya was born and raised in Southern California, moving to Santa Maria from West Covina, CA. She attended St. Joseph High School and graduated with a nomination to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There she studied Behavioral and Social Sciences while competing on the Academy’s Division I Track and Field team. In 2014 Teresa was honorably discharged from Active Duty following a medical evaluation board. Passionate about social services, Teresa pursued advocacy and worked as a Bilingual Community Outreach presenter and Victim Advocate for the North County Rape Crisis and Child protection center while she completed her B.S. in Psychology with Grand Canyon University. During her time at the local center, she also served as Volunteer and Hotline coordinator. From there she moved to a case manager position for Northern Santa Barbara County Teen Court program mentoring and rehabilitating at risk youth. Teresa reached her goal of working for the Department of Defense in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) office in May 2017 when she was appointed as the SAPR Victim Advocate at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB). She has been at VAFB for over two years now and is currently working on her M.S. in Professional Counseling with a trauma emphasis, also with Grand Canyon University. Teresa hopes to someday work for the Veteran’s Association as a licensed mental health practitioner assisting veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Until then, she is enjoying her time working for the SAPR program, continuing her higher education and living on the beautiful central coast of California with her Labradoodle James.
Tamara Martin has spent over 35 years in the criminal justice system, having worked with both offenders and victims. Tamara earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Auburn University at Montgomery. Tamara began her professional career counseling and advocating for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Starting in 1992 and continuing for 21 years, Tamara was employed as a Probation Officer for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Following her retirement in 2013, she began the first courthouse facility dog program in Alabama. In May 2014, Tamara was placed with facility dog Willow, a graduate of Canine Companion for Independence. Due to Willow and Tamara being the only courthouse Facility Dog team in Alabama for four years, Willow has assisted with cases all over the state. Tamara and Willow were instrumental in starting HERO, Alabama’s statewide facility dog program, which is the first statewide program in the country. Tamara currently serves as the Grant Administrator and Facility Dog Handler for the Office of Prosecution Services in Montgomery, Alabama.
Dr. Julianne Meisner is a veterinarian and a Ph.D. candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She works closely with the Center for One Health Research at UW, where she studies the human health implications of animal exposures applying a One Health approach, that is an approach to health which considers humans, animals, and the environment as interconnected systems. Her research focuses on livestock-related exposures and human health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, but also encompasses the occupational health of animal workers in the U.S. and abroad, and other One Health research questions. She also practices as a locum tenens small animal veterinarian in the Seattle area. Dr. Meisner will be presenting on communicable disease risks to and from courthouse facility dogs.
Trisha Mellberg obtained a B.S. degree from Samford University in 1998 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2002. Upon graduation from law school, she began working as an Assistant District Attorney in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Alabama. While at the District Attorney’s Office Ms. Mellberg specialized in child sexual and physical abuse cases. She was also a member of the Montgomery County Child Death Review Team, Children’s Justice Task Force and Child Protect Multidisciplinary Team. In 2006 she was awarded the 2006-2007 Prosecutor of the Year Award by Governor Bob Riley on behalf of Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL). In May of 2010 Ms. Mellberg accepted employment at the Alabama Office of Prosecution services as the SORNA Resource Prosecutor for the State of Alabama. Her duties there have included rewriting Alabama’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws to become SORNA compliant, serving as the vice chair on the Erin’s Law Task Force, serving on the Children’s Justice Task Force, training prosecutors and law enforcement and handling cases throughout the State. While continuing her duties as the SORNA Resource Prosecutor, in 2018 she accepted the position of Deputy Director with the Office of Prosecution Services and the Alabama District Attorneys Association.
Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, JD retired in 2011 as a senior deputy prosecuting attorney from the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle, Washington after 26 years of service. In 2003, she pioneered the use of facility dogs that are graduates of assistance dog organizations to provide emotional support to everyone in the legal justice system. Ellen graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1983.
Ellen is the founder of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, a non-profit organization that educates legal professionals and promotes best practices for the use of these dogs during the investigation and prosecution of crimes. In 2010, Bark Magazine named her among the “100 Best and Brightest for Amazing Advancements in the Dog World over the past 25 years.”
In 2013, Oprah Magazine named Ellen a “Local Hero” for her work and she also received recognition from the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of the Law for a successful innovation in their competition for the Innovating Justice Award.
Ellen’s son, Sean, and his service dog, Jeeter, were the inspiration for her efforts to make the criminal justice system more humane.
Rhonda Robbins is a graduate of Gardner Webb University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. She has worked in the mental health field as well as with Department of Social Services. Rhonda began her career at a Children’s Advocacy Center in Ohio where she worked as a Community Educator and trained as a Forensic Interviewer. In 2009 she became Director and Primary Forensic Interviewer at the McDowell County Children’s Advocacy Center; Lily’s Place, a new center for Southmountain Children and Family Services. In 2015 Rhonda became the primary handler for facility dog, Leroy IV, North Carolina’s first and only facility dog. Leroy and Rhonda do Forensic Interviews, assist in court proceedings, and develop and implement programs in the community. Rhonda has extensive training in several forensic interviewing protocols and is a Certified North Carolina Victim Services Provider. She presented on “Utilizing a Facility Dog in a Children’s Advocacy Center” at the North Carolina Children’s Advocacy Center’s Symposium on Child Abuse and Neglect in 2016 and 2017. Rhonda was the recipient of the 2018 Lily’s Hope Award for her work in the child abuse field.
Laura Romans is employed by Harcum House, CAC in Lancaster, Ohio. Currently she is the Forensic and Team Services Manager for Harcum House. She is the handler for facility dog Ottimo. Laura is a dedicated and credentialed registered advocate with senior status with specialized training in forensic interviewing, crisis intervention, domestic violence, and victims of crime and trauma. She is a certified Courthouse facility dog handler and program leader for Courthouse Dogs for the State of Ohio.
Dr. Elizabeth Spruin is an Investigative Psychologist and Canine Behaviourist from the United Kingdom. She currently works as a senior lecturer in psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University and is also the director of Justice Support Dogs International (JSDI), which she established to not only build an evidence base for the value of Facility Dogs, but also help to promote the use of these dogs within the UK and European criminal justice systems.
Specifically, Dr. Spruin’s research focuses on implementing and evaluating the use of specially trained dogs throughout the criminal justice process. This work has helped to build the evidence base required to further open-up these practices to countries such as the UK, where such practices have not been established. In 2018, Dr. Spruin acquired the first Facility Dog in Europe (Oliver, trained by Duo) to specifically work within the UK criminal justice system and the only one of his kind to be placed at a university for research purposes.
Kelly Stevens is the Training Manager of righteous Pups Australia.
Celeste Walsen, DVM is the Executive Director of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation and assisted in the creation of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation in 2008. Celeste has raised four puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind and Canine Companions for Independence. One of those puppies was Jeeter’s sister Junie, who also became a service dog. Celeste also served on the board of directors for the non-profit organization Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue.
Celeste graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in psychology and obtained her degree in veterinary medicine from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Celeste facilitates the scientific research in this field between the assistance dog organizations, the academic community, the courthouse facility dog handlers, and the Courthouse Dogs Foundation.
Celeste provides expert advice on best practices for the successful incorporation of a facility dog into office, child advocacy center, and courthouse settings.