Washington's Metropolitan Police Department introduced its new bloodhound, Sam, this week, providing a valuable lesson in community-police relations: If you want a friend, get a dog.
On the Prince of Petworth blog, MPD shared photos of Sam licking Chief Cathy Lanier's face, as well as her hugging the new rookie. Commenters could hardly contain themselves.
"Cathy, If you ever need a dog sitter for Sam – let me know!" wrote "Andy2."
Another commenter took us for a ride in the Gen X way-back machine, writing out the song that introduced "The Bloodhound Gang" from the 1980s-era Children's Television Workshop show "3-2-1 Contact."
"Anon" wrote simply, "Sam is a cute batoot."
Sam even compared well across breeds. One person on the MPD District 5 listserv wrote, "That's the cutest dog I've ever seen. And my Shih Tzu is pretty darn cute!"
According to the American Bloodhound Club, Sam's breed is more than 1,000 years old and a product of breeding by monks of St. Hubert of Belgium. Through the centuries these dogs have been used to hunt animals, criminals and missing people. In D.C., Sam will be used to track missing persons, and MPD said he's already found two since being acquired by the department on Aug. 14.
But Sam's more immediate contribution might be breaking down a few barriers between police and the city they serve.