The Highland Park Police Department’s first community service and wellness dog chose its own name during an honors ceremony on Monday.
The well-trained walking dog arrived at Highland Park last month with police officers Mike Lodesky and Darren Graff.
The pawfficier will be in a critical capacity to help bring comfort and support to people in need who are turning to the police department for help, the city said.
The dog’s ministry is primarily focused on situations where it can reduce stress and anxiety in individuals who have been victims of a crime or other emergency situation.
He will also be out and about in the community, stopping by schools and community events.
Students at North Shore School District 112 and Highland Park High School were invited to submit name suggestions for the dog in February.
The dog chose a treat that was on a plate with the name tag “Vinny,” which is short for Ravinia.
During training, the dog was given the name “Duke” and he grew very fond of it, the city said.
“Although his ‘Pawsonnel’ file says ‘Vinny,’ you’ll hear our officers interact with the dog as ‘Duke,’ which is the name he was given while he was at Paws & Stripes College,” he said the town .
The Highland Park Police Department welcomed a well-trained hound home in March after the dog completed training in Florida. | Provided photo
Vinny Duke was educated free of charge through Paws & Stripes College, a program of the Brevard County, Florida Sheriff’s Office.
The program provides a second chance for both the dogs, all of whom are rescue dogs, and carefully selected and trained county jail inmates who serve as trainers.[Suggested Article] Police say the man threatened the roommate with a gun and fired shots inside the Highland Park home
City officials said trainers are working hard to train dogs in voice commands, hand signals and other obedience skills, in addition to continuing education to serve as therapy dogs for victims and individuals in crisis.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said Vinny Duke has already made a few calls and lives at the police station.
“As a department, we strive to implement innovative ways to serve our community and improve our ability to respond compassionately to crises and stressful situations. Our new community service dog will provide vital emotional support to those in need and accompany our officers on their visits to the community, alongside residents of all ages,” Jogmen said.
The community’s continued commitment to building relationships with residents and businesses is one of the city’s most important public safety goals, officials said.[Suggested Article] Police arrest a suspect who was wanted for hitting and injuring a police officer with a car in a Lincolnshire pursuit
The addition of a community service dog will expand the Police Department’s mental health response and crisis intervention toolkit, which includes mental health first aid training for all officers and crisis intervention training for all officers after completing two years of service.
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