The Essex County district attorney has paid off the remaining balance that the city owes for Ace, the Gloucester Police Department’s community resource dog. 

The $5,000 from District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett is part of a broader grant to the Gloucester Public Schools and Police Department. Under the grant, Ace will participate in the Gloucester All-Stars Academy, a new leadership program offered at O’Maley Middle Innovation and Gloucester High schools. The All-Stars Academy is modeled on a nationally-recognized program initiated by Blodgett in Lynn.

"I'm a strong proponent of working with community partners to keep young people out of the criminal justice system," Blodgett said in a prepared statement. "The Lynn All-Stars program has been very successful in engaging students to become leaders in their school and encourage their peers not to engage in risky behavior. I'm excited to bring the same concept to Gloucester and know that Ace will be a tremendous asset."

Ace, an English golden retriever, was purchased for $16,000 with donated funds from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. The Gloucester Police Department has held several fundraisers to repay the organization for its kindness, but still had $5,000 on its side of the ledger. The grant funding from the DA will mean the Flutie Foundation has been fully repaid.  

Ace has been with the Gloucester Police Department since November 2020 to provide comfort and help de-escalate school-based conflicts and situations concerning children in need, primarily those with ADD, ADHD, who are on the autism spectrum or have other behavioral problems. 

He is also able to provide comfort to children who may be experiencing or have experienced trauma.

"Having Ace join our department reflects a modern, engaging approach to community engagement, de-escalation and trust building," said police Chief Ed Conley. "I am thankful to District Attorney Blodgett for supporting this innovative model, and the support and comfort Ace will provide our community moving forward."

Ace and his handler, School Resource Officer Peter Sutera, have been working with selected middle and high school students participating in the All-Star Academy, a program that seeks to teach leadership skills, provide mentorship and foster positive relationships among students and staff.

"Having Ace in the classroom is a great ice-breaker," Sutera said. "Kids really open up when they interact with him."

 

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.

 

Trending Video

Recommended for you