Watch Now: Therapy Dog Joins UNL Police Force This Month | Local

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department will soon have a four-legged friend that differs from a traditional police dog.

An 18-month-old Labradoodle therapy dog ​​named Hershey will soon be a graduate of Domesti-PUPS, an organization that provides therapy dogs, service dogs for people with disabilities, and obedience-trained rescue dogs.

New student registration manager Gabrielle Modica gives Hershey one last bit of attention outside the Cather Dining Center before leading the students on a campus tour.

Craig Chandler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The organization is preparing Hershey through training and testing before UNLPD will adopt him.

Working with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, Hershey and other puppies receive some of their education from inmates while also receiving training from professional caregivers in the community.

Although Hershey won’t be joining the department until mid-July, he has already made several appearances on campus.

UNLPD dispatch director Sara Haake believes Hershey will be a great public relations opportunity on the force and help bridge barriers.

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“It’s about building partnerships with young adults who traverse our campus, our visitors, and our staff and faculty,” Haake said.

Upon adoption, Hershey’s handler will be a civilian member of the Police Department who will direct him to various assignments on both the City and East campuses, including:

* Daily interactions with staff, faculty, students and visitors.

* Provide support to all UNLPD members.

* Providing comfort and support to crime victims during interviews.

* Providing opportunities to bridge communication barriers.

* Providing opportunities to initiate discussions with parties who would otherwise have avoided uniformed staff.

* Enable UNLPD members to connect with the larger community in a positive and informal way.

According to Haake, Hershey’s adoption process took longer than expected because of his education and funding.

“As a public body, we don’t use budgetary funds for something like this. So the opportunity to bring Hershey into our department is really based on the generosity and support of our stakeholders and community,” Haake said.

To get Hershey into the department, created UNLPD for a month fundraiser trying to raise $8,000.

The fundraiser will help offset the $5,175 cost of acquiring Hershey and a year of basic supplies like food, linens, a bed and a crate.

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