Rescue Pit Bull Mix Becomes First K-9 Officer at Pennsylvania Police Station

Six-year-old pit bull mix “Halo” received her badge on July 14, making her the first rescue K-9 on the Upland Borough force.

Upland Borough Police Lt. Mickey Curran saw Halo’s potential right away. “She had a snaggletooth and an underbite, and I said, ‘That’s the girl for us!’” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I said ‘I know this is unorthodox but would you be OK with a police department rescuing a dog and with the dog living at the station?’”

Tish Mayo, director of the “Rags 2 Riches” animal shelter, thought the idea was “wonderful,” though she had never heard of the practice. She was quick to agree. “I think dogs belong everywhere,” she said.

It was a new idea to Curran, as well. “I’d never heard of a station dog but I know we’re here 24/7 and there’s a lot of dogs that don’t have homes,” he said. “I thought it’d be good for morale, especially when you come back from a tough situation, like a domestic violence case or a car crash, she’s there to greet you with her tail wagging. It makes the day a little easier.”

Halo may not have the requisite training in the sensitive work for which dogs are most often used in law enforcement, but she has a very important job of her own. While it was not the original intent, Halo has turned into a positive — if slobbery — face for the department.

“We got her to bring the officers closer together and to assist them when they return from horrific calls … but what it turned out to be is the community getting her involved and her becoming a spokesperson for the department,” Curran said. “That was not what we expected.”

Halo will attend local police events and make people feel welcome when they show up at the Upland Borough station. She even has an Instagram account, courtesy of Curran, chronicling her beat.

Upland Borough’s first quadruped public servant was sworn in on July 14, surrounded by masked officers and local officials. “She’s legit,” Curran said. “She took an oath and put her paw on the Bible and all.”

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