The St. Charles Police Department welcomes its newest member Charlie, a police comfort dog. Charlie was “sworn in” at the City Council Meeting Feb. 22, 2022. His star number is 202 and his handler is Officer Meghan Kramer.
Role of a Comfort K-9
Unlike the typical K-9 which helps police with searches, tracking, and apprehension, Charlie’s main role is to provide emotional support, especially after traumatic incidents.
- Crime victims can take comfort in holding and petting Charlie, and just being around his calming demeanor.
- Having a friendly dog to interact with can help victims or witnesses feel more comfortable talking about traumatic events and be less intimidated when speaking with a police officer.
- Our police social worker can request Charlie and his handler accompany her to facilitate a call or visit.
- Charlie will help our first responders cope with the stresses of the job.
“Comfort dogs have been used widely in medical settings to reduce patients’ stress and anxiety,” said Chief James Keegan. “Similarly, Charlie will be available to help support someone on what could possibly be the worst day of their life.”
A Police Ambassador in the Community
A dog offers an easy way to connect with people of all ages. So Charlie will attend many community events with handler Officer Kramer, and encourage positive interactions. You will see him at parades and festivals, and generally out and about. He also will have a presence in the schools. He will attend to Too Good for Drugs classes, be available for students to read to him, or just hangout and interact with the kids. Ab
Charlie is a 1-year old Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix.
- A local family donated him to Canines 4 Comfort in early 2021. Canines 4 Comfort is a local 501(c)3 organization that trains and places psychiatric service dogs with individuals diagnosed with emotional disabilities, and therapeutic facility dogs with schools and first responder teams.
How to Act Around a Therapy Dog
While Charlie is a friendly pup, please practice proper dog etiquette and be sure to ask Charlie’s handler for permission before approaching or petting him. Remember that Charlie is still a working dog and may need breaks during events to decompress from the stimulation of people.
Charlie has received his Canine Good Citizenship certification through the American Kennel Club. This ten-step skill test ensures he has good manners, understands basic obedience, and is capable of being out in the community. Training helps build a bond between the dog and handler. Charlie and Officer Kramer train together for at least one hour every day and attend weekly trainings through Canines 4 Comfort.
The St. Charles Police Department is grateful to these local businesses for helping with the Department’s K-9s:
- Canines 4 Comfort for placing Charlie with us and donating all the training he and his handler attend together. https://canines4comfort.org/
- Doggie Divine for offering Charlie free grooming for life. http://doggiedivinepetsalon.com/
- Gateway Veterinary Clinic for donating veterinary services to both Charlie and Saint. https://gatewayvetclinic.com/