Help name Scottsdale Police Department’s new crisis-support dog

The newest member of the Scottsdale Police Department Crisis Response K9 team needs a name, and the department is asking the public to help decide.

The 11-month-old male English chocolate Lab, originally named Chunks by Tempe-based Zona Labradors, will serve as an emotional support crisis specialist for the program, which responds to traumatic events that occur in the city.

After the death of their previous team dog Fozzie, police wanted to continue the program, which helps provide emotional support to citizens who are involved in traumatic situations as well as public-safety professionals who respond to such calls.

Police are seeking public input about what the dog’s name should be. There are five choices: Churchill, Chase, Charlie, Chip and Copper. The online poll can be found on the Scottsdale Police Department website.

Calming influence in scary situations

Anthony Pagliuca, a department crisis intervention specialist who handles the seven-member team’s support canine, said the team’s dog can help people feel more calm during a scary situation.

“Wherever the incident is, we go there.” Pagliuca said. “Dogs are comforting to people and can normalize the situation. People never plan for traumatic events.”

Pagliuca said the dog is always with him or his co-workers in a specially labeled “K9” squad car. 

When responding to a scene, the crisis team first asks individuals whether they would be willing to work with a canine specialist, and then they bring in the dog.

Dogs have been found to help calm victims quickly, according to Pagliuca. He saw success when he was a handler for Fozzie. 

Getting used to the training

The newest Lab was donated to police by Tish Dittman of Zona Labradors, a dog-breeding organization in Tempe that works to socialize the dogs as puppies. Dogology Contemporary Canine Services of Scottsdale volunteered to train the dog for the police job, according to the department.

Pagliuca said the dog is still getting used to the department grounds and its training but could be responding to scenes as soon as after the new year.

“We provide our assistance with our two-legged and four-legged co-workers,” Pagliuca said. 

Voting will close at 5 p.m. Dec. 11. 

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