There is always a lot of emotional toll on the police officials who act as first responders to a crisis. Therefore the mental and physical health of police officers in Portland is under focus these days, and attempts are being applied to make the officers decompress.
As a part of these efforts, a comfort dog named Jocko has been brought into the Portland Police Department. The dog is a part of the department’s commitment to the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of the officers for many years to come.
One-year-old Jocko, who was donated to the department, is currently under training to be a therapy dog. Jocko’s handler Erica Hurley told reporters that dog would take up to three years to complete his training.
Hurley said that studies were conducted about how people react after and during critical incidences in the presence of animals, and promising results came out. It was discovered that the blood pressure and heart rates were lowered considerably when the subjects sat down with the dogs and cuddled with them.
The wellness program for the officers hopes to include meditation and yoga into the staff’s schedule. Observations will also be made about how the schedules are going to have an impact on the sleep patterns of the staff.
The department is also aiming to incorporate training aimed at promoting resilience and reducing stress.
Police Chief Jami Resch told news outlets that resilience is critical for the officers as most of their duty is spent while observing and enduring emotionally and physically traumatic situations.
The program will also remove stereotypes and knock down barriers such as beliefs like asking for help is considered a sign of weakness.
Hurley said that if any officer comes to spend time with the dogs, they always have the option to chat with the handlers as well.
Image source: Portland Police via Twitter