ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The City of Arkansas City announced that the Arkansas City Police Department (ACPD) welcomed K9 Sal, a bulldog, to the team on Wednesday.

The City said K9 Sal is a police dog of a different breed. He will not be snuffing for drugs or running track on a fugitive, but instead, his primary assignment will be to support the men and women of the ACPD and area first responders.

“K9 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.”

Sal is eight months old. The City says within the next month, he will be old enough to send off to specialized training.

Not only will Sal be instrumental in critical incident debriefing, which occurs after major traumatic incidents, but he will also regularly be a fixture in the department to boost morale, according to the City.

“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,” said Chief Burr.

The City says K9 Sal will also help the department with outreach events such as Popsicle Patrol, DARE Camp, National Night Out, and Pop in Park, along with other community events such as Tacolalah, Last Run, and Arkalalah.

“It is a vision for the future that K-9 Sal can make appearances at sporting events. After all, he is a bulldog, like most of us,” Chief Burr said.

A fundraiser is being planned in the way of a middle school dance on Feb. 10, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Agri-Business Building. The City says funds raised will help offset care and maintenance costs for K9 Sal and will give a positive event for middle school students to attend.

“K9 Sal has already significantly impacted the overall atmosphere of the department, and we can tell when he is not in the building,” said Chief Burr.

To stay up to date with K9 Sal, like the Arkansas City Police Department on Facebook.