Winter Haven Police Department welcomes their first therapy dog

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Meet Miranda.

The 15-month-old yellow Labrador retriever has joined the Winter Haven Police Department as the agency's very first therapy dog. 

"The Winter Haven Police Department announces a new member to the department —Miranda — the first therapy dog for the agency and actually first in law enforcement in Polk County," the police department announced this week.

“We have seen a growing trend in therapy dogs becoming more popular in the law enforcement realm and the timing was perfect for Miranda to come on board,” said Public Safety Director and Police Chief Charlie Bird.

Miranda is a certified therapy dog who was donated by Mediation and Counseling Consultants. She'll work with her handler Detective Elyse Chapnick. Miranda's job will be to bring comfort to victims of crime. 

The department says Miranda can help victims, particularly victims of violence, open up about what has happened to them and help police solve the case faster.

She'll also serve as a support system for members of the police department, whose jobs can often take an emotional toll on them.   

 “Officers are human beings and sometimes the scenes they are exposed to can pay an emotional toll. Miranda won’t erase the incident, but she can certainly help with a smile and give that well-needed diversion for a few minutes.”