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Township police add canine therapy program

By Lisa Brody

A seven-week old Goldendoodle puppy, who is the newest member of the Bloomfield Township Police Department, was introduced at the township board meeting on Monday, July 12, as chief Phil Langmeyer explained they have added a canine therapy program.

“Police departments in the area are using therapy dogs for people who are struggling, for children,” Langmeyer said, noting that the Birmingham Police Department has had “Bella” as a beneficial resource for the last several years.

The puppy, who slept through the township board meeting, will be trained in-house by the township's canine officer. She will be paired by community relations officer Nick Soley, who will be her handler.

Soley said “She will be a trained support and service dog. Her functions will include providing interaction during investigations involving children or adults to reduce anxiety and increase communication between the adult or child victim/witness and investigators, to provide comfort for people during times of crisis, and to provide aid and comfort to individuals, groups and communities impacted by violence, tragedy, or traumatic events. The service dog is also a valuable tool in fostering dialogue and communications between the police department and the community we serve, and can be effectively be used in the department’s community policing efforts.

“The support dog team can help bridge the gap between a traumatic event and the connection to mental health support,” Soley continued. “Interacting with the dog may help restore a person’s emotional and cognitive equilibrium. Dog and team can assist with critical stress incidents for employees of Bloomfield Township, well as neighboring jurisdictions who may need assistance after any type of major incidents.”

The public is invited to help name the puppy, with the choices of Maggie, Allie and Rosie to be voted on the Bloomfield Township Police Department's Facebook page.

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