VICTIM SERVICES - Harley the dog is the RCMP Victim Services Unit’s first service dog. Harley will help victims of crime who are experiencing tragedy and trauma. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

Harley the dog is the RCMP’s newest recruit

Victim Services dog will help individuals navigating justice system and trauma

The Red Deer RCMP Victim Services unit has a new recruit who is two-feet tall, walks on all fours and isn’t against snuggling.

Harley the dog, a service dog that helps young people in particular navigate through tough situations like losing a loved one and having to go to court, was officially sworn in and received his City of Red Deer dog tags.

Holly Erb, RCMP constable and program coordinator for Red Deer Victim Services, said Harley has already been working and has been in court assisting victims who have gone through tragedy and trauma.

“Harley is a service dog and he has been brought in to assist our clients and the victims, witnesses and family members of anyone who has been experiencing trauma or tragedy,” she said. “That can come in the way of crime or it can come in the way of a death of a loved one.

“He will provide emotional support for them through the system, whatever that looks like.”

According to Erb, Harley is very empathetic which is key to his assistance with victims of crime.

“I would say dogs have a sixth sense and they know when people need assistance,” she said. “We do find that with all the victim service dogs, as well as in other areas, they tend to go to a person who is experiencing symptoms of anxiety and stress. That may be a first responder in our office who they tend to go towards or it may be our clients.

“They innately move towards them to provide assistance.”

Harley will allow Victim Services to offer more quality care to their clients.

“A lot of of our clients, which are underreported, are children or were victims as children,” she said. “They are expected to travel through the criminal justice system just as an adult would and Harley is expected to support them through that.

“They can lean on Harley through that and they can have him present while they make their statements or testify in court.”

Tara Veer, Red Deer mayor, said the addition of Harley to the police force was made possible by the fundraising efforts of the 2017 Notre Dame High School graduating class.

“Notre Dame raised $38,000, which covered the acquisition and the operation costs to keep this recruit on duty,” she said. “Harley is two years old and comes to us ready for duty. He was in court yesterday and some of the characteristics we know about him is that he is very mild-mannered, which made him very appropriate to be a Victim Services dog.”

It was Veer who officially presented Harley with his dog tags, which includes the number 9-1-1 on them in order for the community to know where he belongs.

“He is the first of our therapy dogs and he will serve victims, the RCMP and he will serve our community,” Veer said.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Lacombe County Highlights – Aug. 9th, 2018

Highlights of the regular council meeting August 9, 2018

Blackfalds RCMP warns of ‘repo’ scammers

Blackfalds RCMP responds to two males attempting to steal utility vehicle

Harvest safety reminders from Lacombe County

Harvest season is busy and can be stressful. Pay close attention to fatigue, drowsiness and illness

Lacombe Council passes second reading of cannabis bylaw

Public hearing sees opposition to bylaw; third reading coming Sept. 10th

City looking to invest $750,000 into Lacombe Market Square

First reading of bylaw given to help bridge the gap between developers

WATCH: Ellis Bird Farm hosts annual Bug Jamboree

Visitors enjoyed getting up close and personal with butterflies, beetles and bees

Special air quality statement in effect for Central Alberta

Wildfire smoke from B.C. covering 95 per cent of the province

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Most Read