Pepper on patrol

Paradise Valley PD adds facility dog to focus on personnel health, wellness


The Paradise Valley Police Department has welcomed its newest team member, six-month-old Bernedoodle, Pepper.

On Feb. 5, Pepper was sworn in as the department’s first facility dog.

“We have been focusing on personnel health and wellness at the police department and part of that is finding ways to mitigate stress and anxiety that is common in this line of work,” Commander Freeman Carney said. “After research on facility dogs, and all of the benefits that come with them such as decreased stress, decreased absenteeism, and improved mental and emotional health, we decided to look into having our own facility dog join us.”

Mr. Carney says the department looked at and considered many different breeds before eventually landing on the Bernedoodle because it’s known for its intelligence and calm demeanor.

After finding a breeder in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Bernedoodles donated a puppy to the Paradise Valley Police Department due to their support of law enforcement.

“Pepper came to us when she was roughly 10 weeks old and quickly proved to be the highly intelligent, laid back dog we were hoping for,” Mr. Carney said.

She will be tasked with helping mitigate and intervene when she senses police department personnel feeling stressed or anxious, and has been trained to perform deep pressure therapy and behavior interruption.

“Pepper may slowly be introduced to other tasks like attending community events or calls for service where her training can be beneficial to officers and residents,” Mr. Carney said. “She is only six months old so her tasks will be minimal at first so she does not get overwhelmed.”

This is the department’s first facility dog, but they previously had a police K9 named Abbott for many years who worked closely with his handler, Sgt. Don Blume.