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PCSD: Luke and Leia nearly ready for duty

Posted at 11:39 AM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 19:54:51-05

The newest Pima County Sheriff's Deputies are nearly ready for duty. 

Luke and Leia are what the Pima County Sheriff's Department thinks is the first of its kind in the nation. They're therapy dogs being trained to help reduce stress at the corrections facility. 

The official name of the program is CPAST, which stands for Corrections Pet Assisted Stress Therapy. An official-sounding name for a pair of adorable pups, acquired through a grant.

Their job with the department is an important one. 

"Studies have shown their adept ability to bring down stress," said Josh Arnold with the Pima County Sheriff's Department. "Especially in a stress environment. We're breaking the mold and brought a couple of canines in which we can already see the positive results." 

"It's amazing," according to Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier "We can sense tension. The dogs walk through. You can see the de-escalation. It makes everybody smile? How can you look at those dogs and not smile? I'm so proud of this department to step up and lead the way in something like this." 

Leia and her brother Luke will go through a sixteen-week training program before they begin their regular duty comforting inmates at the Pima County Adult Detention Complex on the southwest side.