DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — The Swatara Township Police Department on Friday announced the latest addition to its K9 Officer lineup.
Tattoo, a 35-pound, Labrador/Pitbull mix, joined the police department on Feb. 13. His partner is Officer Ben Stewart, a school resource officer in the Steelton-Highspire School District.
Swatara Police say Tattoo was named in remembrance of Christine Stoltz, who served the department as a receptionist for the last 25 years and recently died of cancer.
"Christine loved tattoos and how they give personal meaning to the people who get them," the department said in a press release. "We believe Tattoo will leave an everlasting impression on every person who he interacts with."
Tattoo will be utilized as a therapy dog, and will be an extension of the daily responsibilities of Stewart at Steel-High's school buildings, the department said.
Once his training is complete, Tattoo will be able to assist students, staff members, community members and other first responders, according to the department. His use will extend to public events, community outreach and engagements, traumatic incidents, grief loss, victim forensic interviews, criminal investigations/interviews, crisis intervention, medical facility visits and partnerships with government and non-profit organizations who address the effects of trauma, mental health and crime.
"This Therapy K9 program will assist first responders and all staff within Swatara Police with exposure to traumatic events and support efforts aimed at increasing resilience to improve mental health and wellness," the department said. "Therapy K9 programs have been very successful in various settings across the nation and we are pleased to bring this service to the students and staff of the Steelton-Highspire School District as well as the community members we serve.
"We are really excited for this program and can’t wait for all of the students to meet Tattoo after he receives his required training."
The Swatara Township Police Department would like to thank the staff and administration at the Steelton-Highspire School District for their support of this program as well as the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Ohio for their partnership.
Tattoo came to the Swatara Police Department as a donation and there will be minimal cost for his upcoming training.
"We are certain that his presence will help hundreds of people over the course of his assignment," the department said. "Welcome to the team, Tattoo!"