Man’s best friend? Folks at the Calgary Police Service (Alberta, Canada) would say so.
Hawk, a 7-year-old black Labrador Retriever, has served as the Calgary police trauma dog since 2013. During his four years in the service, Hawk has had a variety of jobs, mainly aiding the Victim Assistance Unit. Hawk supports witnesses and victims of crime and trauma, especially those who are young.
“For vulnerable people in court who need some extra support when they give their testimony, he’ll go there and support them,” Sgt. Steve Hill, CPS Victims Assistance Support Team, told the Calgary Herald.
Additionally, Hawk works with various school programs that target at-risk youth and responds to ongoing traumatic event scenes to provide emergency support. He also can be seen from time to time at the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre.
And his services have not gone unnoticed. Since joining CPS, requests for Hawk have consistently increased from year to year. In just the first six months of 2017, there were 107 requests for Hawk’s services, most of which were for a comforting companion for children required to testify in court.
Hawk was raised, trained and provided to CPS by the Pacific Assistance Dog Society. He is the third trauma dog of his kind in Canada; the other two work with the Delta Police Department and Camrose Police Service.
“He brings something that no other aspect of the police department can bring – it’s something that’s exceptionally valuable to what we’re trying to achieve within the victims’ assistance team,” Hill said.
The program has been so successful, there’s rumors of adding a co-worker — another dog — to the unit.
Our very own La Habra PD has a trauma dog too. Emerson, a 105-pound Golden Retriever and Labrador mix is also used in the field as a “comfort canine.”
Mike Murphy, the department’s lead chaplain, has been using Emerson’s services since 2010.
“Emerson helps take traumatized people out of the moment. People need assistance for their emotions as much as they do for their bodies. Emerson’s just a big sweetheart, and that’s just what these people need,” Murphy told Behind the Badge in 2014.