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Leo The Therapy Dog Joins Orland Park Police Department

Patch logo Patch 9/21/2021 Yasmeen Sheikah
a person holding a dog: Meet Leo, the Orland Park Police Department's newest member. © Yasmeen Sheikah/Patch Meet Leo, the Orland Park Police Department's newest member.

ORLAND PARK, IL — The Orland Park Police Department has officially inducted a new member into its ranks. Leo, the department's new therapy dog, made his Orland Park debut at the Committee of the Whole meeting in Orland Park Monday night.

Leo joins the department through the new police dog therapy program that aims to help reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, produce social interactions and more among officers who have been through unforgettable, life-changing experiences on the job.

All the way from Cocoa Beach in Brevard County, Florida, Leo is an eight-month-old black Labrador retriever. He was the youngest of his classmates to complete the four months of therapy training.

On Monday, a pinning ceremony was held to officially welcome Leo to Orland Park.

"On behalf of the Orland Park Police Department, congratulations and welcome to the family," Police Chief Joseph Mitchell said during the pinning.

Leo will continue training for the next few weeks here in Orland Park. One thing many in the department want him to learn is how to "give paw."

In July, Mitchell gave a presentation on how bringing a therapy dog to Orland Park will be significant within the department, saying that adding a dog to its staff would help reduce stress on officers during critical incidents.

"We deal with death investigations, from suicides to standard deaths and response, but that's not the only thing we do," Mitchell said. "We respond to critical incidents from robberies to domestic violence to child abuse [and] situations like that. We believe this therapy dog would be a great asset for the department."

On Monday, Mitchell said Leo will be allowed in courtrooms to help lower anxiety among all, but especially children.

Orland Park Police Hope To Start Therapy Dog Program | Orland Park, IL Patch

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