School resource officer Ben Martin and therapy dog Ollie.

The newest addition to the Georgetown Police Department may be younger than your average police officer but from all accounts he is wise beyond his years. 

Three-year-old Ollie, a golden retriever, started working with his owner and handler, school resource officer Ben Martin, last Thursday at Great Crossing High School. 

Martin has been a school resource officer in Scott County for eight years. Ollie was 10 weeks old when he partnered with Martin.

In his role as a resource officer Martin said he encounters kids suffering from depression and anxiety on a regular basis. He said he hopes in Ollie’s role as a therapy dog he can help kids open up about what they are going through.

“Kids do not feel that police in general, are that approachable” said Martin. “So I thought bringing a dog into the school system, such as a golden retriever, would just open up conversations which has been proven to be true so far.

“I think that’ll be a huge benefit, building the rapport with students.” 

In preparation for his new role Ollie completed a two-week training program with Sydney Buck Pennington at the Dog Wizard in Frankfort. Ollie will still need to take a test in a couple weeks to formally receive his “Canine Good Citizen” certification, but he is confident Ollie will pass, Martin said. Ollie will also receive refresher courses on an as-needed basis. 

Ollie has a loving demeanor that is ‘infectious’ and he is very in tune with human emotions, said his owner.

“He does like to provide that calming effect,” said Martin. 

In his research Martin said he found therapy dogs are a proven method for reducing defiant behavior in children and young adults. 

Bringing Ollie into the work he does with counselors and family resource coordinators “is going to prove huge benefits for the police department and Scott County Schools,” he said.


Elizabeth Morey can be reached at emorey@news-graphic.com.

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