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

Snowfall adds some delay to morning commute

The QE2 and area road conditions in central Alberta were partly snow covered

Eckville Aces senior boys basketball crumbles to the Knights

The Aces came out with a 99-54 loss to CACHS on Jan. 15

Eckville Aces senior girls fall to CACHS at home

The Aces trailed 63-42 at the final buzzer on Jan. 15

Hope restored: Sylvan Lake resident receives kidney donation from younger sister

Sylvan Lake’s Lexie Libby undergo an operation for a new kidney, donated by her sister Emma.

Anglers reminded to register ice huts on Sylvan Lake

Lacombe County is reminding anglers to register their huts with the “Take it Off” program

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

WATCH: Team Alberta in Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Ponoka cowboy Vernon (Bud) Butterfield passes away

The Ponoka Stampede Association announced his passing Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Ponoka RCMP are looking for a missing man

Police say he may be in Drayton Valley and they are worried for his wellbeing

Most Read