June 20th, 2024

Canine recruit takes on victim services role

By Lethbridge Herald on March 29, 2022.

LPS Victim Services manager Catherine Pooley introduces Kourt to Sgt. Wade Davidson during her first day on the job Monday, to familiarize her with members of the LPS staff and the facility at the Lethbridge Police Station. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Police Services Victim/Witness Services Unit has a new and only four-legged recruit to provide comfort and support in the community to victims and LPS staff. 

Kourt is a two-year-old female 3/4 golden retriever 1/4 black lab who has received extensive training through the Lions Foundation of Canada in Ontario and Dogs with Wings in Alberta.

She will be providing support not only for victims going through the court process, especially children but also to LPS staff exposed to traumatic events during the course of their duties.

“The court process is a scary time, getting ready to be able to be there, even going through the interview and explaining to officers what an experience has been like for victims is really challenging, so she’s there to help give them a little bit of natural strength, help support them through it,” said Catherine Pooley, Victim Witness Services manager.

She added that when it comes to helping LPS staff, some of the calls are really tough to go to, so she will be able to help them get through that so they’re ready for the next call when it comes in. 

“It’s going to have to be a case-by-case basis. In the same way that a staff member in this building has to manage their work-life balance we’ll have to do the same for Kourt,” said Pooley. 

Pooley said this has not been an overnight project, this has been many years and many people’s work in the making to have her there with them. 

“As we learn more about where she can assist that’s where we look at expanding our program from there,” said Pooley. 

Monday was Kourt’s first day on the job where she worked alongside Pooley to get familiar with the building and the staff before going home with Victim Services Administrative assistant Vicky Snider. 

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