Fairfax County police on Tuesday introduced the department's five newest and furriest recruits -- police service dogs Jack, Holmes, Lennie, Indy and Sully.
The dogs are assigned to the police department's Incident Support Service Section and are deployed to help reduce the effects of a traumatic event, including fear and anxiety, for our first responders and community members.
The program is a partnership with First Responder K9 (FRK9), a nonprofit that is providing us with the dogs and associated costs, including medical care, at no charge.
Highlights of the program include:
- All the dogs will go through a two-year training program in order to meet ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements for service dogs.
- Once fully trained, three of the dogs will go to disabled first responders and two will remain to deploy to incidents.
- The dogs are responding to critical incidents, not only on a local level but, if necessary also at a national level. They deploy to help de-escalate the often strong emotions and stress that come with horrific events.
- In addition, the dogs will also play a role in fostering community relationships with trips to our neighborhoods, schools, local events, etc.
The dogs are named after fallen officers to honor those who have served and protected our community.
"At a time when suicide is the number one cause of death among police officers and the daily stressors are of epidemic proportions for first responders, Chief Edwin C. Roessler has made it a priority to combat this issue," Fairfax police said in a news release. "Expanding the department’s Incident Support Services program is a crucial part of helping his own officers, active and retired.
"The addition of service dogs is an opportunity to give back to our community and our first responders who suffer from trauma."