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CPD welcomes first ever “Comfort Dog”

February 4, 2020

While the CPD has had a K-9 program for decades, they are venturing into a new arena of engaging "man's best friend" at the department this month by adding a "Comfort Dog" to their ranks. Yogi, pictured at left, is likely smiling as he found out he will be brought from his training home in Florida to his new home in Charlottesville by Officer Darius Nash and Public Information Officer Tyler Hawn later this month.

And he's not the only one smiling! The department is excited to work with Yogi to enhance their community relationship work and better serve the citizens of Charlottesville. Yogi will not conduct enforcement activities such as narcotics searches or suspect apprehensions. As a Comfort Dog, he is strictly meant for community engagement and helping people who have had possibly the very worst day of their lives. Yogi's job will include:

  • being used in the school systems to humanize officers and help students release emotions in a positive way;
  • providing emotional support to crime victims and witnesses following traumatic incidents;
  • reducing short-term anxiety and long-term post traumatic stress for law enforcement personnel who regularly experience trauma on the job;
  • forming working relationships with non-profits, such as the Virginia Institute of Autism and Special Olympics of Virginia to help give those with intellectual disabilities a way to form relationships and better communicate with our department;
  • and comforting sick children in our local hospitals and engaging our community at outreach events, such as Charlottesville Night Out.

Yogi's going to have his work cut out for him when he arrives later this month! The Charlottesville Police Foundation is excited to support Yogi and his handlers in their work, but we can only do this with your help. Click here to support our fundraising efforts for this important and impactful new program.

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I have been a Police Officer for a long time. I have seen both joyful and horrific times thru the years; some dark days & rainy nights I have even asked myself if it was worth it, and did anybody really care? Thanks to the Foundation, I know someone does. Not just funding equipment or training or the many other things that have been done, but by letting us see all of you among us as we work. The outpouring of support from the community itself has demonstrated to us that there are still SO MANY good people in this broken world.

—CPD Officer Perspective, CPD Officer Charlottesville Police Department