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New Josephine County sheriff’s K-9 trained for compassion, not crime

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office’s first police K-9 in six years won’t be focused on bagging collars, but with helping traumatized people, according to a press release from Sheriff Dave Daniel.

The K-9, named Gibbs, a cross between a golden retriever and a yellow Labrador, joined the sheriff’s office Monday, the release said.

The dog is not trained to track or apprehend suspects, or to detect narcotics, according to the sheriff’s office. Instead, the animal will work with a deputy on patrol as a “compassion/therapy” dog.

“Gibbs’ mission is to bring joy and smiles to those suffering from tragedy, victimization, trauma and/or depression,” the release stated. “Gibbs also treats sheriff’s office employees, as they see and deal with situations routinely that the average citizen may never see or go through.”

An unnamed family in Josephine County donated the dog to the department, according to the sheriff’s office. The animal completed two years of training through the nonprofit Canine Angels Service Teams in Grants Pass.

Requests for comment from the sheriff’s office and the nonprofit weren’t immediately returned Tuesday, but the nonprofit’s website shows that its service animal training programs typically focus on helping children and people with disabilities with physical tasks, or are trained to offer emotional support.

The sheriff’s office is accepting donations to support its K-9 program. Donations are are tax-deductible. Checks or money orders should be made out to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Fund, and can be dropped off or mailed to 1901 NE F St., Grants Pass, OR 97526.