Simplified: The Sioux Falls Police Department has a new member: a 14-week-old Golden Retriever named Leo. He's the department's first-ever therapy dog.

Why it matters

  • Law enforcement agencies across the country have used therapy dogs both as a way to boost morale and well-being among officers and as a way to help people feel more at ease when interacting with officers.
  • Leo's main job will be to support police officers, but he'll also get to take part in community activities like block parties, school events and more.
  • Leo's training has already begun, but he won't fully join the department until early 2024, according to a news release from the department.
β€œLaw enforcement can be a demanding profession, and we are always looking for new ways to provide support and promote the emotional wellness of officers," Police Chief Jon Thum said.

Tell me more about Leo

The department purchased Leo for $1 from Archwind Retrievers in Bell Plaine, Minnesota.

His training started about six weeks ago with Tenacious Dog Training and his owner, Maggie Pearson.

  • At the end of his extensive training, Leo will be a certified therapy dog.

What's next for Leo?

Lots more training.

He'll also get to take a break Sunday, April 30 to help out at Severance Brewing Company by picking ingredients for a "dog brew."

  • Sales of the dog brew will then be used for Leo's future vet bills.