University Circle K-9 community police dog already bridging gaps
Posted November 11, 2023 in Articles
Author: Wiley Jawhary
CLEVELAND — Police departments across the state are putting a new emphasis on community policing, a way to build trust and connect with the people officers serve.
What You Need To Know
- A local yellow lab K-9 is ready to make a difference in her community
- University Circle Police bring first-ever community police dog
- Magnolia Clubhouse is engaging K-9 Grace with mental health clients
Now northeast Ohio’s University Circle Police Department has a new tool to help with that process, the department’s first community policing K-9. Grace is a 5-month-old yellow lab, and she is ready to make a difference in her community one paw at a time.
Jalissa Workman, a client at Magnolia Clubhouse, has a new friend at the University Circle Police Department.
“I still feel calm and I think I’m happy,” she said. “I like it when she licks my face.”
She spent some time with Grace, the department’s first K-9 community police officer. Sgt. Kurt Keeper said the 5-month-old yellow lab puppy helps the department with community policing.
“What Grace is doing, that’s basically her job, being petted, and she’s sending love for the community,” he said.
Keeper is Grace’s handler, and they recently visited the Magnolia Clubhouse, a facility that gives care for those with mental illnesses. Lori D’angelo is the executive director of the clubhouse and said Grace is already making a difference.
“I think it’s really important that the police are helping people see the friendly face of the police force, as not only an enforcer of safety and protection but also just a part of the community, helping to engage people in a supportive way,” she said.
Police departments across the country are struggling to build bridges and trust with their communities. That’s where Grace comes in. She’s had extensive training to make sure she’s up to the task.
“So for her training, we went to Little Italy every other weekend just to get Grace being socially active (with) other people,” Keeper said.
Grace is learning how to approach people, handle stressful situations and deal with things like arguments or even loud noises. Keeper said this training is ongoing and will only make Grace better at her job.
“Everywhere I go, if Grace is not with me, they ask where Grace is,” he said. “So Grace is loved by this community already.”Back to News