The Pima County Sheriff's Department has selected the name "Leo" for its first therapy dog.

Hundreds of nominations were submitted in a contest on the department's Facebook page to name the yellow Labrador retriever puppy. The winning name was announced Sept. 20.

Leo will be assigned to the Mental Health Support Team and team up with Detective Shawn Degan.

Jennifer Jennings submitted the winning name, authorities said.

Before the pup begins his duty, he must go through obedience school. He will begin classes in mid-October, which will be followed by more rigorous training, including how to enter buildings, said Sgt. Jill Isely, supervisor of the Mental Health Support Team unit in an earlier interview.

Leo will then be trained as a therapy animal, and learn how to be a first responder to crime scenes. The training will take about a year.

In the meantime, Leo will accompany Degan to work and "get used to activity and being around people," Isely said.

Leo was acquired through a grant awarded by Cenpatico Integrated Care, a behavioral and physical health-care provider in Southern Arizona. 

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar

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