LIBERTY COUNTY, Fla. (WT XL) — Liberty County Sheriff Buddy Money announced the addition of a new canine to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office on Monday and the first Law Enforcement Investigative Therapy K-9 in the Big Bend area.
Anna, a 2-year-old Blue Heeler mix, will begin working with the office in March 2021, with her partner Sergeant Chad Smith.
Anna and Sergeant Smith are a certified Law Enforcement Investigative Therapy Canine Team. They attended the Paws and Stripes College at the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Cocoa, Florida, where they successfully completed the United K9’s Law Enforcement & Multi-Discipline Therapy Dog course, as well as the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.
Anna was donated to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Paws and Stripes College.
The Paws and Stripes College has been in existence since 2006, where the program has provided certified Therapy K-9’s to law enforcement all over the country.
Sheriff Money says the goal for Sergeant Smith and Anna is to build positive interactions with students and staff so Anna can be "utilized to reduce anxiety during stressful events, de-escalate tense situations and open up avenues for communication with persons in crisis."
Anna can also help children and adult victims when interacting with law enforcement, during interviews, as well as responding to acts of violence against children, serious accidents, and providing emotional support and anxiety reduction for first responders.
K-9 Anna will work with Sergeant Smith every day in the Liberty County School District, where Sergeant Smith is assigned as the supervisor over the School Resource Deputy Unit.
Sheriff Money thanks Superintendent Kyle Peddie and the Liberty County School Board for partnering with their office to bring Anna into the school community. The Sheriff would also like to extend a big thank you to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the staff of the Paws and Stripes Program.