The Scottsdale Police Department has announced its second crisis response canine, Rocket, who is assigned to assist the school resource officer at Chaparral High School.
Rocket is the first police canine to be assigned to a school resource officer in Maricopa County, according to a press release.
The SPD school resource Unit canine program is modeled after the SPD police crisis intervention services canine program and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer canine program.
Rocket is assigned to Officer Devon Lines at Chaparral High School and will travel to other schools as needed. Rocket’s duties will include providing comfort to victims, calming high-stress situations and bridging gaps with community members.
All current SROs are crisis intervention trained and experienced in helping with behavioral health-related incidents, according to a press release.
The first contact a young person has with police is often with an SRO, the press release stated. Rocket will be a resource to comfort student victims of crimes.
Rocket also will provide an outlet for students experiencing behavioral health crisis situations, including diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness, anxiety, depression, autism, etc., the press release stated.
School resource officers also are responsible for several community outreach programs including Teen Academy, G.R.E.A.T program, Cadet Program, and many other informal outreach efforts.
Rocket will work in a similar capacity to the current PCIS crisis response canine, Chase, by supporting the community with these programs.
This was a zero-cost program to SPD, the press release stated.
Rocket, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, was obtained from “Paws With A Cause,” a Michigan-based organization that custom-trains service dogs.
Initial funding for Rocket’s assignment was provided by the Chaparral High School Association of Parents and Teachers and the Scottsdale Unified School District Foundation, which raised more than $34,000 to support SPD’s new school resource unit canine program.
The Foundation intends to continue its support of Rocket, with the hope of expanding the program to other SUSD campuses, the press release stated.
“We’ve been working on placing a service dog at one of our high schools for about a year,” said SUSD’s Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education, Dr. Milissa Sackos. “Rocket is going to fit right in at Chaparral and open up important, new avenues of communication with our students.”