Dogs Trained to Help Survivors of Trauma and Witnesses to Tragedy Are an Increasing Presence on Police Forces

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Scottie, a golden retriever with the Hawthorne Police Department, was the first police facility dog in the state. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Scottie, a golden retriever with the Hawthorne Police Department, was the first police facility dog in the state. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The most recognizable police dogs are those that can sniff out drugs and bombs, or the tough K-9s that can take down a suspect with their teeth.

Scottie, left, and Meredith at the funeral services of a Montebello police officer. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Scottie, left, and Meredith at the funeral services of a Montebello police officer. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Scottie, Raider and Meredith are not that kind of dog. Their mission is far different, and their duty lies with survivors of trauma, witnesses of tragedy or anyone in need of comfort.

“Dogs help people in a way that humans may never be able to,” said Erin Lennox, a public safety dispatcher with the Corona Police Department and one of Raider’s handlers.

Animals that are trained to provide emotional support have been popping up at hospitals, nursing homes and college campuses throughout the country. In law enforcement, they’re still an uncommon breed, but their numbers are growing.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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