Lt. Karen Yancy began her career in law enforcement with the Griffin Police Department in February of 2002. After graduating Basic Mandate she was assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division. In August of 2003, Lt. Karen Yancy was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Division where she spent time working Crimes Against Property, Crimes Against Persons, and in the Special Victims Unit. In February of 2018, Lt. Yancy was transferred to oversee the operations of the Special Investigative Unit (S.I.U.) and the Criminal Apprehension Gang Enforcement Unit (C.A.G.E.).
Lt. Yancy was the first female in the history of the Griffin Police Department to be promoted to the ranks of Sergeant and Lieutenant. In December 2017, Lt. Yancy and Sgt. Kelly McKinney implemented the Therapy Dog Team program for the Griffin Police Department. Her K-9 Partner is “Gracie”.
She received her Master’s Degree in Public Safety Administration from Columbus State University where she was also a graduate of the Command College.
The Griffin Police Department is now equipped with two Therapy Dog Teams. The teams consist of handlers Lt. Karen Yancy with K-9 “Gracie” and Sgt. Kelly McKinney with K-9 “Chevy”. The Therapy Dog Teams are used primarily for accompanying child victims and witnesses throughout the judicial process, i.e. Forensic Interviews, Assisting DFACS when children are removed from the home, assisting the District Attorney’s Office when child victims/witnesses are attending depositions or trials, relocating families of domestic violence, immediate response to crisis incidents involving children, such as school shootings, homicide/suicide, major vehicle accidents, or any other violent acts. The dogs are used to calm the victims and lower their anxiety levels so that the child will increase their communication to law enforcement and court officials. Having the Therapy Dog with the child helps to reduce the traumatic effects of the criminal justice system.
Studies have shown that petting the Therapy Dog will lower the victim’s blood pressure and heart rate, as a result the level of stress and anxiety is reduced. It also releases oxytocin and endorphins that help people feel better.
The Griffin Police Department is one of the first police departments in Georgia to utilize the Therapy Dog Teams. Lt. Yancy and Sgt. McKinney are excited to be a part of this pilot program and have great expectations for its success.