Hewitt police “Pawfficer” Sherlock spent his first week on duty consulting with detectives and overseeing dispatchers as the first top cat in the ranks in the Hewitt Police Department.
“This is something different, something new, and employees were very excited about it,” Chief Jim Devlin said. “I think this is going to be a positive experience having Sherlock here, and make a difference.”
Sherlock, a 4-month-old black kitten, joined the Hewitt Police Department this week after animal control officers found him on a loose animal call to a resident’s house. The kitten was quarantined for 10 days before he was returned to the department.
“I fall in love with any animal that comes in, and I want to keep all of them,” evidence technician Lindsey Bartlett said. “This kitten is different, because he loves being around people, so he really is like an emotional support animal.”
Animal control officers always try to reunite animals with their owners, but no one got in touch to reclaim Sherlock, which left them with two options, Devlin said.
“In this instance, the city would have had to have paid to have this cat taken to the shelter and there would have been an expense there to hopefully find him a home there,” Devlin said. “I think the cat had already found his home here.”
Sherlock, sporting a Hewitt Police Department collar with a handcuff charm, spent Friday morning with Criminal Investigation Division detectives. Members of the department voted on the kitten’s name and credited a Michigan police department with coming up with the rank of “pawficer” last year for their cat, Donut.
“He is absolutely so cute,” Detective Balentina Jaimes said with Sherlock on her lap. “He loves people, and I love having him here.”
Day and night, Sherlock will stay at the Hewitt Police Department, with a home base in dispatch. He will be available to alleviate stress for sworn officers, civilian staff and visiting members of the public.
Devlin said he has read studies about the emotional benefits that animals bring to workplaces, and Sherlock will bring more benefit than cost to the department.
“The department hasn’t bought any of his stuff, but I made it very clear from the beginning, this was going to be a team effort,” Devlin said. “I get that some people are cat people, some people are dog people, but I don’t think anyone minds the cat is here. I’ve never seen something bring so much joy to so many people as this little cat.”