Pups lending a paw to UI police support team

URBANA — University of Illinois students suffering from mental issues or just overwhelmed by stress now have a fully dedicated team of police employees in place to help them.

Some are trained in crisis intervention, others are licensed clinical social workers, a few know just the right place to get help and others have four legs.

While most of the members of the Community Outreach And Support Team — dubbed COAST — have been with the department for years, it’s the relatively new therapy dogs, whose sole job is to love on and reduce the stress of humans, that are the attention-getters at the police department. More on them later.

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Photo Credit: Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette