The city of Wilmington have added a trauma and wellness dog to its Police Department.
The 18-month-old English labrador retriever named Barry began work this month.
He will be the four-legged extension of the department’s Critical Incident Stress Management/Peer Support Team, designed to help officers and civilian employees cope with the effects of critical incidents and promote overall health and wellness.
Barry will also support the department’s Victim Services Unit, and those affected by crime in Wilmington.
“We are excited to introduce Barry to Wilmington, and to expand our efforts to support the community and our employees,” said Police Chief Wilfredo Campos in a city press release. “I believe strongly in the importance of ensuring the health and wellness of our residents,as well as the first responders and civilian staff – both on the street and behind the scenes.”
Barry’s handler, Lt. Harold Bozeman, is the commanding officer of the department’s new Community Engagement Unit, as well as the department’s CISM/Peer Support Team.
Barry has already made appearances at community meetings and WPD initiatives, such as the department’s weekly Community Outreach Walks and its monthly Coffee with a Cop events.
Barry will also appear at our monthly Community Resource Fairs and other public events.
“This is the culmination of a nearly two-year effort to add a mental health dog to our employee support and wellness programs,” Bozeman said. “I have already seen Barry making a positive impact on the morale of our officers and staff and I know that he will continue to do so as he settles into his role as a member of our work family.”
Barry comes from the Texas-based nonprofit K9s for Freedom and Independence, with the support of the Barclays Military Service Employee Resource Group.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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