Sasha, an 18-month-old black Lab is the newest member of the Harvard University Police Department. Careful, she may steal your heart.

“I’ve given her more hugs and kisses than my wife of 28 years,” quipped Steven Catalano, the department’s public information officer.

Sasha has been making fast friends since arriving on campus in late August. On a recent patrol through Harvard Yard with her handler, officer Steven Fumicello, passersby called her name. Some stopped for a cuddle, with comments like, “It’s been a day. Can I have a moment with Sasha?”

Fumicello invites the uninitiated with the now well-rehearsed introduction: “This is Sasha. We use her for community engagement and wellness. She doesn’t sniff for guns, bombs, or drugs, just smiles.”

Since Sasha’s arrival, Fumicello, who has been at Harvard since 2002, has shifted to a more outward-facing role. “We try to visit with all the officers starting their day, put a smile on their face, and then we’re out the door.”

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