San Bernardino Police Lt. Vicki Cervantes stopped by The Sun office Monday with a big grin on her face.
“Only in San Bernardino can you be a shelter dog one day and K-9 of the Year the next,” she said, entering the office and holding a leash with Sherlock on the other end.
Sherlock, a beautiful Irish Wolfhound-Labrador mix, is the newest member of the San Bernardino Police Department.
He is the department’s Community Affairs Canine, rescued in April and already bringing peace and calm to traumatized children.
He’s not a service dog and wouldn’t know how to stop a suspect.
What Sherlock knows is companionship, comfort, love.
On Monday, he was tail-wagging proud of the distinguished new medal of honor around his neck, which touted him as the “SBPD K-9 of the Year.”
It was a toss up — who was smiling bigger, Sherlock or Lt. Cervantes?
Sherlock, who will turn 5 years old at the end of July, was a star at the June 8 Law Enforcement Recognition Dinner.
Hosted by the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce, the 41st annual dinner honored excellence in local law enforcement agencies including the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Cal State San Bernardino Police Department, San Bernardino City Unified School District Police Department, San Bernardino Community College Police Department, and the City of San Bernardino Police Department.
Sherlock and both his K-9 handlers were recognized that evening and Police Chief Jarrod Burguan put the medal around the dog’s neck.
Sherlock accepted it graciously.
“The police department needed a gentle, smart dog. At first we thought we would get a service dog, but if a service dog is out in the community, he’s not available to do his job,” said Lt. Cervantes, who has been with the San Bernardino Police Department 27 1/2 years and was its first female motorcycle officer.
Sherlock spends nights and weekends with handler Cervantes and days with Community Engagement Officer Eileen Hards.
He’s a busy boy.
Sherlock was adopted from the Yucaipa Animal Placement Society by the police department just before the April 10 shooting at North Park Elementary School.
Following the deadly shooting, North Park students were evacuated to the gymnasium at Cal State San Bernardino, where they were made comfortable.
Sherlock was mellow and laid down next to the kids who were shaken up, bringing them peace and calm as they petted him.
Since then, Sherlock has become a community hero and somewhat of a celebrity.
His name already was “Sherlock,” so it was a meant to be, Cervantes said.
He participates in many community and school programs, such as Tip-a-Cop and the Special Olympics torch run.
For the Torch Run, he wore his new shoes and T-shirt and looked quite athletic.
He did a public service announcement with the fire department regarding illegal fireworks, “Love Your Pets and Don’t Set off Fireworks.”
He was a Celebrity Judge for the Humane Society’s Walk for the Animals, and got to kiss L.A. Rams cheerleaders.
He was interviewed on Channel 3.
When North Park Elementary School students took a tour of the police department, Sherlock was there.
He donned a helmet and went for a motorcycle ride to publicize motorcycle safety.
During the city hall move, Sherlock sat in a crate as a reminder not to leave him behind.
Sherlock, who weighs in at 73 pounds, eats dry food with canned food to make it yummier. Most of all, he loves his snacks.
Above all, this wonderful dog is patient and tolerant. He’s a good sport and allows the humans to dress him in anything.
Michel Nolan appears in The Sun on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.