SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Scottsdale Police Department is welcoming a new addition to the team: Rocket, a golden retriever that will become the first K-9 to be assigned to a school resource officer in Maricopa County.
Rocket will be assigned to a resource officer with Chaparral High School, but he can travel to other schools when needed, officials said on Feb. 2.
"As we walk at the end of the day and on to campus every day, there's kids walking by and shouting his name. They come up to say hi to him and bring him treats and stuffed animals.," said Devon Lines, who works as a School Resource Officer for the Scottsdale Police Department.
Rocket's duties will include comforting students who have been victims of crimes, providing relief in stressful situations, and provide an outlet for those going through behavioral health crises.
"We’re getting more calls about our young people in crisis," said Jeff Walther with the Scottsdale Police Department. "That crisis runs the gamut. Domestic-related crisis, domestic violence, mental health issues, peer pressure, and peer group issues, social media issues."
"We’ve done numerous classroom visits," said Lines. "We meet with the counselors a lot. After his first full day, I’ve already had emails from students to have meetings with Rocket. So he’s definitely taken over the school."
Rocket, the new K-9 with Scottsdale Police.
Rocket is Scottsdale Police's second Crisis Response K-9, and the project has been a year in the making. The Scottsdale Unified School District Foundation and the Chaparral High School Association of Parents and Teachers raised more than $34,000 for the police department's new School Resource canine program.
"We’ve been working on placing a service dog at one of our high schools for about a year," says SUSD’s Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education, Dr. Milissa Sackos in a statement. "Rocket is going to fit right in at Chaparral and open up important, new avenues of communication with our students."