By Jack Lowenstein

DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a new member of Denver Police Department, and her name is Shelby — a 15-month-old Black English Labrador Retriever.

Shelby is also a therapy dog — American Kennel Club certified — who will accompany Officer Teresa Gillian, as they try to make positive connections in the community.

“It’s just a great out-of-the-box way to do community outreach, and it really breaks down a lot of barriers that, without her, I don’t know if I could do it by myself,” Gillian said.

(credit: Denver Police)

The pair will visit schools, meet with neighbors and attend meetings and community events, as well as be part of outreach efforts in areas impacted by violent crimes.

Shelby’s addition to the force is an effort that began in 2019 when Denver Police Foundation donated $4,500 so the Labrador puppy could be brought to the police department, , cover handler training and miscellaneous start-up expenses such as a harness and leash. Shelby is the first therapy dog in the Department’s pilot pup program, and depending on her success, the department might add more therapy dogs across the city.

Officer Gillian is stationed in District 6, which is where she and Shelby will be working together.

Chief Paul Pazen expressed his excitement for Shelby to join the police department in a DPD press release.

“We are honored to add Shelby to our ranks today,” Pazen said. “Having her on the team and on the streets adds a level of comfort for our residents who may otherwise be hesitant to engage with a police officer. We look forward to connecting with those we serve in a positive manner and for everyone to meet Shelby.”

(credit: CBS)

Jack Lowenstein