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Springfield, Mo. ~ Springfield Police Department's New Comfort K9 Named "Lt. Dan" by Public Vote

In a recent press release, the Springfield Police Department announced the name of their new comfort K9, an 8-week-old chocolate lab. After asking for public input, the department received over 4,000 votes and with a majority of 52%, the winning name was revealed to be "Lt. Dan."

The department's decision to add a comfort K9 to their team was made possible by a $35,000 grant from the Gary Sinise Foundation. A portion of the grant was used to purchase Lt. Dan and the remainder will go towards future officer wellness initiatives.

According to Capt. Eric Reece, who spearheaded the research and implementation of SPD's comfort K9 program, engaging with a dog has been proven to reduce stress and increase oxytocin levels. This is crucial for officers and non-sworn employees who need to be in a good mental and emotional state in order to effectively serve Springfield.

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While Lt. Dan's primary role is to provide support for department employees, there is potential for expansion in the future that could involve engaging with the community as well.

On February 23rd, 2024, Lt. Dan was officially sworn in by City Clerk Anita Cotter in a ceremony attended by Officer James Kinder and Forensic Evidence Technician and Comfort K9 Handler Tonya Toner. The oath taken by Lt. Dan reads: "I, Lieutenant Dan, do solemnly swear to serve and comfort with unwavering loyalty as a police comfort dog. I pledge to bring tail wags and smiles to all I encounter, offering comfort in times of distress and joy in moments of celebration. With every paw step, I vow to spread warmth and kindness. In the face of adversity and serve as a beacon of comfort, my wagging tail a symbol of hope. So help me dog."

The department also shared additional pictures and videos of Lt. Dan settling into his new role, bringing joy and comfort to those around him. With his friendly demeanor and unwavering loyalty, Lt. Dan is sure to make a positive impact on the Springfield community.

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