Crisis K9 Calms Suicidal Woman  

Thank you to Chuck McPhilamy, Public Information Officer for the Marietta Police Department for sharing this article about K9 Officer Barney, new specially trained crisis-response K9 officer. To contact Officer McPhilamy for more information email him at

Crisis K9 Calms Suicidal Woman

K9 Officer Barney, normally assigned to the Marietta City Elementary Schools, helped deescalate a woman in severe crisis last week.  Since it’s summer break at the schools, Barney and his handler Officer Hill were helping the shift officers and were right-place-right-time when it mattered most.

Officer Hill and K9 Officer Barney

On June 7th Barney and Hill responded to a call where a woman locked herself in a bathroom, threatening to commit suicide.  The woman (name withheld for her privacy) was distraught and told her pastor that she was ready to die.  The Pastor contacted 911 and requested officers respond.  When the responding officers arrived, she was out of the bathroom and laying on the bed, extremely distraught.  She told the officers that she “can’t live like this anymore” and that she “did not want to go back to the hospital.”

Barney followed his training, jumped on the bed and laid down next to her.  He allowed the distraught female to snuggle with him while his backup officers attempted to de-escalate her.  Barney’s presence and demeanor gave her the time to calm down and begin to relax.  Unfortunately, the responding ambulance had to divert to a serious injury scene.  In situations like this, the added response time can cause a distraught person to spiral further out of control.  Officer Barney stayed diligent in his duties for over 45 minutes, never leaving her side.  His companionship and presence made all the difference.  When the ambulance crew arrived, the woman agreed to go voluntarily to the hospital for much needed help.

Like cities all across our country, we have seen a notable increase in calls for help related to mental health.  The addition of K9 Barney is just one more way Marietta is investing in the mental health of our community.  We want to publicly thank everyone who worked to bring Barney here as a new specially trained crisis-response K9 officer.

Editor’s Note: Take all signs of suicidal behavior seriously. If you or someone you know needs help call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, or use the Lifeline Chat. Veterans or service members can call 988 and then press “1,” or text 838355, or chat online. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has a Spanish language phone line at 1-888-628-9454 (toll-free).


K9 Officer Barney

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