(Camden City, NJ)- The Camden County Police Department debuted its newest K9 officer – Unity. He is a one-year-old Chocolate Labrador who graduated with his partner, Officer Peter Macpherson, from the K9 police academy in January.
Chief Gabriel Rodriguez, Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen, Commissioner Virginia Betteridge and school officials were present and talked about the importance of the department’s police K9s and about the department’s continuing community outreach initiatives.
“Ensuring that we are using every tool possible to connect with the youngest members of our community is critical to our mission,” Rodriguez said. “That said, a dog like Unity will continue to give us the opportunity to break down dialogue barriers to our youngest and most impressionable residents- our youth. In addition, to his work with kids in the city he will also be a great tool for recruitment for the agency.”
Unity loves kids and is now part of the department’s Community Outreach Unit. He and Officer Macpherson visited Forest Hill Elementary School where a class of second graders got to meet Unity and see what he can do.
“The kids really reacted well to Unity and that’s big part of why we wanted to add this K9 officer added to our police department,” Commissioner Virginia Betteridge. “We are thrilled to welcome Unity to Camden City and we expect positive things to come of his presence here.”
The Camden County Police Department has initiated a variety of community engagement initiatives over the last 10 years that include using ice cream trucks to cool down hot spots, movie nights, pop-up barbecues throughout the city, the Bookmates program, flag football and senior bingo days. This is in addition to our senior watch program where police officers make regular home checks during extreme weather events. All these programs have been implemented to bring officers closer to the community and ensure that residents interactions don’t exclusively occur when they call 911.
“Camden is happy to welcome the newest K9 officer – Unity, to Team Camden and the Camden County Police Department,” Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen said. “The police K9s play an important role in the department’s community outreach efforts. It is important to ensure positive
interactions with officers and the students at Forest Hill Elementary School were excited to meet Unity at today’s event. Moving forward, I expect Officer Peter Macpherson and Unity to be well received by the overall Camden community.”