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The Wheat Ridge Police Department launched a new program last year called National Dog Walker Watch designed for dog walkers to help deter crime in their neighborhoods. The next Dog Walker Watch training class is planned for Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the police department, 7500 W. 29th Ave.

The free class is open to Wheat Ridge residents and dogs must be licensed. Space is limited, so register soon.

“Who better to know what’s going on in a neighborhood than someone who walks through it every day,” said Wheat Ridge Police Chief Dan Brennen. “This training class offers residents education on how to identify suspicious behavior and when it should be reported to police. Residents and their four-legged friends walk the neighborhood sometimes multiple times a day, and if something or someone is out of place, they will probably recognize it sooner than a police officer on patrol. If your instincts are telling you something doesn’t look right it probably isn’t.”

The Dog Walker Watch Training is designed to help increase awareness for suspicious behavior or activity and determine what should be reported to police. Dog guardians/owners who attend training (dogs can stay home) will be presented with a certificate signed by Chief Brennan. Those participating in training will also receive a special scarf for their four-legged companion to wear as they “patrol” the neighborhood on their daily walks identifying them as an Honorary WRPD K-9.

According to the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA, there are more than 75 million dog owners across the nation. Dozens, if not hundreds, of neighbors are walking their dog throughout the community at all times of the day, all days of the week, in all weather conditions. Dog Walker Watch encourages these neighbors to assist local law enforcement as extra eyes and ears while out walking their dog. The program enhances the partnership between police and community while providing resources so neighbors can be more aware and learn how to effectively observe and report suspicious activity.

Pet guardians/owners can register for the WRPD Dog Walker Watch training class at ci.wheatridge.co.us/WRPDDogWatch.