New service dog program helps retired and active police with anxiety

Virginia

FAIRFAX, Va. (WDVM) — According to Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler, more first responders die to suicide than while on duty. The Fairfax County Police department has partnered with a mental health organization to remind its active and retired officers that, “it’s OK to not be OK.”

“I think it’s real important that we all understand the stigma of mental health, especially in the law enforcement profession,” said Roessler. “And it’s my goal as your chief of police to lead an effort here in Fairfax County, across the nation, and around the globe to get rid of the stigma of mental health.”

On Tuesday the police department introduced its new service dog program, in partnership with K9 First Responders, Inc. Five of Fairfax’s cutest recruits have been trained by first responders for first responders.

Three dogs will be dispatched to medically retired members of the police department and two will remain with the agency and travel with police officers to reduce fear and anxiety.

FRK-9 plans to dispatch 30 dogs to first responders in need in the next couple of years.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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