ORLAND PARK, IL – The Orland Park Police Department is keen to launch a police dog therapy program aimed at reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, social interactions, and more in officers who have had memorable, life-changing experiences on the job.
At the meeting of the Committee for a Whole Monday evening in Orland Park, Police Chief Joseph Mitchell presented the program to the village council and asked for approval. Mitchell gave an outline of how the program might matter within the department. The boss said adding a dog to his staff would help reduce the stress on officers during critical incidents.
“We deal with death investigations, from suicides to standard deaths and reactions, but that’s not the only thing we do,” said Mitchell. “We respond to critical incidents from robbery to domestic violence and child abuse [and] such situations. We believe this therapy dog would be a great addition to the department. “
Mitchell added that an increase in mental health calls was common in the department as well. The boss said that people are often afraid of officials when reacting to a scene and that having a dog around during an interview can help reduce that fear and get the information they need.
The dog would come from a Florida animal shelter that is not being killed and the process would be free, with the exception of a $ 100 therapy dog certification. An anonymous donor and local law enforcement agency have already donated $ 5,000 to the department, according to Mitchell. An opening in September could get an officer to travel to Florida, take the course, and bring a dog back to Orland Park.
“I think this is an excellent program,” said trustee Joni Radaszewski. “I’m very excited to hear more about it.”
Trustee Brian Riordan suggested that if the village sponsored the program well enough, more residents would be willing to donate and an additional dog could join the force as well.
“I think this is a great service to our officials and residents as well, and I really appreciate the Orland Park Law Enforcement Agency and Citizen Anonymous for their pledges and donations,” said Trustee Michael Milani. “I think this is going to be a long way and it sounds like a great program.”
Although it has not yet been passed, the board unanimously voted to approve the program at a future meeting.