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SLC Police Department’s newest K-9 officer gives emotional support to victims

Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY — Your dog may know basic commands commands like sit, stay, and heal, but Salt Lake City Police Department’s newest K-9 officer also offers emotional support to victims of crimes.

Rita is a two year old black lab, golden mix who meets with victims of crime either on scene or at the police station.

“She sort of just sets the climate,” Victim Advocate Cari Bobo said. “She makes it calming and she just lets them know that it is a safe place for them recently or in the moment if she’s on scene.”

Bobo is her handler and she says she’s seen the calming influence Rita can have on a victim of a traumatic event, and help them feel safe after they’ve been through something horrible.

“I wish I understood the magic,” Bobo said. “There’s definitely something magical about having a service animal there.”

Rita can put her head on your lab, or two paws, and knows 40 different commands.

Bobo says Rita came to the department after a 2 year application process and has been on the force for four weeks.