Missoula's newest sheriff's deputy is less than two years old, but he's already helping to catch bad guys.

At Tuesday's National Night Out event in the Target Store parking lot, Deputy Ross Jessop introduced Loki, a 19 month-old  German Shepherd mix, who had been waiting inside a specially equipped patrol car that protects him from the heat.

"I met Loki in North Carolina and I've known him since April," Jessop said. "Another deputy and I went to Southern Police Canines. I got Loki and Deputy Justin Uriarte got his dog, Santxo. The K-9's are dual-purpose, they can find drugs, and they can also locate human beings. What's really cool about these dogs is that they are human-friendly and pet friendly. You're literally two feet away from me, and he's not barking."

Jessop said Loki has a special ability to track and find missing children.

"He's super kid-friendly," he continued. "We can track lost or missing children, we can track down people  that are in need without him going off and biting someone."

Jessop said he and Loki are always training, but, more often than not, he's the one being trained.

"I feel like a brand new cop," Jessop added," I've been a cop for eight years, and I feel like I'm brand new. Everything I thought I knew about pets, I realize I don't know anything about working dogs. They're incredibly smart, and everything they do is for fun. If you're not having fun with these dogs they don't learn, They shut down and they don't want to learn. So, everything has to be a game."

Jessop responded to the charges that working dogs are abused.

"They love it, and no, it's not cruel," he said. "This is the best life that he will have...ever. And when he gets older and is ready to retire, he'll be able to be more of a house pet."