Comfort dog working for Chester County Sheriff’s Office helps community

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A comfort dog and handler are the first couple in the country to receive therapy certification through the United States Police Canine Association after their work with the Chester County community.

Two-year-old Marley works for the Chester County Sheriff’s Office. “He comes in, he’s a cute dog, he’s very, very lovable, he’s got that personality that he’s going to snuggle up with people,” said Sergeant Paul Bryant jr., K9 unit chief, office from the Chester County Sheriff.

Marley joined the force in early 2020 as a comfort dog just before the coronavirus pandemic hit. This limited his interactions at first, but allowed for new national certification with the US Police Canine Association.

No dog team in the country has obtained this certification specific to therapy dogs. Marley and his master, Sergeant Janis Pickell, went through months of training.

“There were certain tests he had to take where he needed to be with certain types of people in the audience, from wheelchairs to crutches. He had to be obedient, he had to be able to be with other dogs and not. not reacting to them so it was just a lot of temperamental things, ”Pickell said.

Now the couple can be asked to respond to any major and catastrophic event in Chester County or to help someone in crisis at times when authorities may not be the best option.

“It’s the one thing people don’t realize that dogs are comforting and Marley is definitely a comfort dog,” said Bryant.

Thanks to COVID, Marley pulled into testing clinics and surprised frontline health workers as well as the county justice center.

“He enjoys going in and attending trials and helping victims who have to testify, so everyone coming in and out of the courthouse has to be here, which makes them nervous or uncomfortable. He’s there to comfort them. , “Pickell said. “The sky is the limit on his ability to soothe anyone who is going through something stressful or having a problem for him.”

Like most law enforcement agencies across the country, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office is constantly working on how to bridge this gap with the community.

“I think Marley would be a great ambassador for Chester County or for all law enforcement to be able to have something that allows people to interact with law enforcement that is not always negative,” Pickell said.

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