Posted on 08/21/23 in University Circle Police Department
If you stop by the University Circle police station, you might just hear the pitter-patter of little paws throughout the building, courtesy of one of the department’s newest officers, Grace. Grace is a friendly, nearly five-month-old yellow Labrador and the UCPD’s first community policing K9. Community policing K9s are special animal ambassadors that accompany police officers on foot patrols, spread joy at public events and school outings, and provide a comforting and calming presence to those in need.
Grace was trained by animal behaviorist Rick Seyler from Silver Bullet K9 Service Ministry in Grafton. Through this process, Grace gained socialization skills and was desensitized to any number of environmental stressors, such as loud noises. “I set [the dogs] up for success,” said Seyler. “I rescue these dogs, train them up, and put them back out there. They receive no bite training; I stick with love.” Seyler donated Grace to the UCPD and spent many days working with Sergeant Kurt Keeper, a 15-year veteran of the UCPD, who is now her handler.
Like any puppy, Grace receives around-the-clock care and lives with Sgt. Keeper and his family. “It’s like having an infant in the house again,” joked Sgt. Keeper. “I’ve always wanted to be a dog handler as an officer. When Grace puts her vest on, she knows it’s time to work. But as soon as it’s off, she’s like a normal puppy.” When asked what Grace is like off duty, Sgt. Keeper replied, “She loves to run around! She loves the water and when she drinks, she’ll put her entire nose in the water bowl. She never barks, except around vacuum cleaners and the washing machine.”
Grace is off to a busy start at the UCPD, but finds a lot of time for naps. She visited WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays and local back-to-school events, and even had a recent outing to the Feast of the Assumption. “Grace is here to build bridges of trust with the community,” said Tom Wetzel, Interim Chief of the UCPD. “It’s amazing to watch people come right up to our officers and have a conversation when she is out.”
Be on the lookout for Grace around University Circle!
Want to know more about Grace? Check out the articles & media clips below:
Photo Credit: Mock TunaBack to Blog