ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (KAKE) - A new four-legged member of the Arkansas City Police Department has been brought in to help support the officers and first responders.

The department has brought on a new K-9 named Sal. The 8-month-old bulldog will be sent off for specialized training in the next month. The department plans to use Sal to help with community outreach event such as Popsicle Patrol, DARE Camp, National Night Out and more.

"Plans are in the works for K-9 Sal to be a community resource. His badge number is 988. He will be a constant reminder that help is only three numbers away when people find themselves or others in a mental health crisis. K-9 Sal will frequent our schools to help educate students about mental health. He will assist with the department's new suicide prevention program Hope Squad, currently operating at the Arkansas City Middle School, Arkansas City High School, and Cowley College," Police Chief Burr said.

"K-9 Sal was acquired by the department last year after Crisis Intervention Officer Cori Tuxhorn and Lieutenant Jason Legleiter approached me about an incredible opportunity to enhance employee wellness in the department. Four County Mental Health Community Co-Responder Jamie Lovell, who works alongside Officer Tuxhorn, approached the two officers with a proposition to bring an English Bulldog puppy into the PD family," Police Chief Eric Burr said. "It has been an objective over the last year to enhance employee wellness. Our officers respond to critical incidents weekly. Continued exposure to critical incidents can have an adverse effect on an officer's mental and physical well-being. Only a few Kansas police agencies are currently using emotional support animals. However, the move to bring Sal on board has been positive."

If you would like to help support this new police pup, there will be a fundraiser to help offset the cost of care and maintenance for Sal on Feb. 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Agri-Business Building in the form of a middle school dance.

Updates on how Sal is doing will be on the Arkansas City Police Department's Facebook page.

If you have questions or concerns about this or any ACPD press releases, please contact Police Chief Eric Burr at (620) 441-6601 or email him at [email protected]