Not your ordinary canine cop: Elgin police add comfort K9 to the force

At a time when police are under fire like never before, one northwest suburban police department has a new recruit everyone loves.

Chance is a 12-week-old Golden Retriever puppy who is being trained as the Elgin Police Department’s first-ever service dog.

On his first day on the job, Chance the puppy seemed a little reluctant to leave his new home at the Elgin Police Department.


Commander Eric Echevarria brainstormed the idea of getting a police department comfort dog.

"I thought to myself what brings a smile to everybody’s face? What lowers stress? A dog. So the comfort dog idea kind of came through," he said.

And while dogs have long been used by police to sniff for drugs, bombs or control crowds, Chance’s cop job will be different.

He will live with Community Service Officer Craig Arnold, but spend his days at the Department where he will go to schools when there are police issues, comfort crime victims, or be brought into confrontational situations when police are trying to defuse the tension.

"Most people will always talk to a puppy or pet a dog, play with a dog. But not everybody feels the same about a police officer," Arnold said.

And judging by public reaction outside police headquarters, he is already a hit.

"I’m a flight attendant and we see comfort dogs in the airport, especially when there are storms and long delays, and they are fabulous," said Elgin resident Jodi Perkins.

Chance will begin comfort dog training in a few weeks. Until then, he is spending his days in the dispatch room with employees signing up to take him for a walk.

"As soon as I got here for rollcall at 6:30, he instantly put a smile on everybody’s face. I mean he was following everybody around," Arnold said.

And as for the new recruit’s name, that was picked by Elgin residents in a Facebook poll.

"Gives people a chance at life, a chance to heal, a chance to try something new. I think Chance was just a good name," Echevarria said.