WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The West Hartford Police Department said one of their police dogs played a crucial role in a recent mental health call. 

According to police, officers were asked to assist mental health professionals with an evaluation of a patient. Police said the person was reluctant to go to the hospital. Officer Andrew Teeter said while he was talking to the patient, they saw his K-9 patch and asked about the dog.  

Teeter then brought out his K-9 Islay and was able to get the person to willingly go to the hospital. 

“You lose a lot of control when someone forces you to go to a hospital to be evaluated so what I try to do is give them a little bit of control in the situation,” Teeter said. 

K-9s are usually used to track down someone or find narcotics. In this case, Islay was used to de-escalate a situation.

Without her, Teeter says it could have ended differently. 

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“It truly is a team effort, anything that we do,” he said.  “Hopefully that most recent experience sits with [the patient] and is a positive thing and so now he’s a little more willing next time and says ‘hey the police aren’t the bad guys, police aren’t here to strap me and take me somewhere where I don’t want to go.'”

The West Hartford Police Department has three K-9s who go out with their handlers on every shift. 

The K-9 unit is used in West Hartford and across central Connecticut, responding to calls when they’re needed.