Cary Web, Mike & Marcia Harms and Jim & Louise Gates of the 900 North block of Marion Street hold a plaque of appreciation they presented to the Oak Park Police Department with Community Service Dog Pawfficer Howie at police headquarters on Thursday November 9, 2023 | Todd Bannor

Jim Gates showed a little police pride last week after he and some neighbors surprised officers and Pawfficer Howie with a thank-you gift.

They gave them a plaque to show appreciation for Sgt. Traycee Love’s appearance with the police pup at a September block party on the 900 block of North Marion Street.

“We have a great relationship with them,” Gates said.

Police Chief Shatonya Johnson, accompanied by several officers, holds a plaque of appreciation given to the department at police headquarters by the families of the 900 block of North Marion Street on Thursday November 9, 2023 | Todd Bannor

With notice, officers will visit a block party and offer services such as signing kids up for bike permits and talking about helmet safety. They’ll hobnob with adults, too.

At the Marion Street party, Gates said Pawfficer Howie – Oak Park’s loveable community service dog – made himself at home, even hopping up on a lawn chair to regally preside over the partying.

Pawfficer Howie, a rescue who is believed to be a Laborador mix with traced of St. John’s Water Dog – is trained to use a special therapy with people in which he applies pressure to those petting him. That pressure is said to increase endorphin levels and to release dopamine and serotonin to help relax people and stabilize their moods.

“It was really good experience,” Gates said.

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