(Bend Fire Department recipients of training from guardian group | Photo Courtesy of City of Bend)
The Bend Fire Department is committed to providing the best training to its firefighters, in order to protect and serve our community to the best of their ability. This commitment was reaffirmed with human trafficking recognition training from Guardian Group, a local veteran-operated nonprofit that provides specialized human trafficking training to law enforcement, first responders and the hospitality industry. Its mission is to prevent and disrupt the sex trafficking of women and children, while enabling partners to identify victims and predators, nationwide.
Guardian Group is currently working on the Sealed City Initiative, with the goal of sealing Bend off from this criminal activity. A large part of this effort is accomplished by training law enforcement, hotel/motel employees and now, the Bend Fire Department.
“First responders are key allies in this full fight against sex trafficking. Some of the incidents they respond to may be the result of the exploitation, control and abuse of trafficking victims. Firefighters are often the first on the scene and can see some of the sex trafficking indicators that might otherwise be missed,” said Guardian Group Chief Operating Officer Jeff Tiegs. “Firefighters are uniquely positioned to not only see indicators of this crime, but, due to their trustworthy nature as community heroes, they also appear less
threatening to victims.”
“The Bend Fire Department is grateful for the education provided by the Guardian Group. Firefighters are continually seeking knowledge and training to serve our community better. We look forward to partnering together in the future, as we all play a role in protecting the Bend community from this crime,” said firefighter Casey Maidl, who coordinated the Guardian Group training.