Therapy dogs playing role in police officer mental health

Imagine the emotional toll on fellow El Monte police officers after two of their own were killed. Therapy dogs were brought in to help support the department in mourning, says Gil Escontrias, who is the founder of Blue Line Dogs LA

Escontrias says therapy dogs are part of a growing role in mental health care within police departments. He calls it psychological first aid and part of a greater concept of psychology and mental wellness for first responders.

Blue Line Dogs LA bills itself as "by first responders for first responders." There's Scout, a black labrador. 

There's also a schnauzer, a spaniel poodle mix, a yellow lab. Escontrias became a dog handler in the military and continued to train dogs for decades. 

Escontrias was a detective and spent 36 years with the LAPD last working crimes against children. 

We'll have more on Blue Line Dogs LA on FOX 11 News In Depth Sunday on Fox 11 at 9:30 a.m. and then our sister station, KCOP-13 at noon.