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Police recruit therapy dog after students’ letters

<i>WBBM</i><br/>Vernon Hills police recruited a therapy dog after middle school students wrote letters to the department
Vernon Hills police recruited a therapy dog after middle school students wrote letters to the department


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    VERNON HILLS, Illinois (WBBM) — It was a letter writing campaign that was not only aggressive, but affordable. For years, students at a school in the north suburbs pleaded with their local police department to recruit a patrol K9.

This year, their request was finally honored with some minor tweaks. CBS 2’s Andrew Ramos was in Vernon Hills for the big reveal.

“They really put a lot of thought into some of the persuasive techniques that they needed to use,” said teacher Mara Corush.

For the past five years, it’s been a flurry of fingers at the keyboards inside Corush’s sixth grade classroom at Hawthorne Middle School South in Vernon Hills.

Students at the school were laser focused on getting one thing.

“Just seeing a dog can light up someone’s day,” said one student. “It makes it more fun.”

What they wanted was a K9 patrol to become part of the Vernon Hills Police Department and it was the focal point of their persuasive writing assignment.

The problem was the department did not have a need for one.

“This year, we went a different route,” Corush said. “We tried to persuade them to have an emotional support dog for Vernon Hills.”

The compelling essays won over the department and Billie, a 2-year-old female lab mix, was recruited.

Her first day on the job involved a lot of cuddles from the students who helped her land the gig, a gig where she will be on the frontlines assisting in high stress and traumatic situations.

“She can take someone’s stress down where another human with the best intentions just can’t get through,” said Vernon Hill Police Chief Patrick Kreis.

“Dogs just make me feel better,” said student Avy Shirahatti. “They help brighten up my day. I think she’s going to help a lot.”

Billie will not only be serving the community in Vernon Hills, but also providing much-needed support to her colleagues on the force.

“They may not have a bad day every day, but you know, when you go on a bad call, when they see some trauma, and could come back, they’re going to have a release,” Kreis said.

It could be a release that every dog owner knows all about.

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