Orem’s furry new recruit prepares for her unique role

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Orem’s newest K-9, Hoku, is not your typical police dog. Hoku, which means star in Hawaiian, has a special mission.

She is the first victim advocate K-9 for the police department and her job is to bring comfort and support to victims of crime.

Hoku’s primary handler, Aiza Stevens, said she is already witnessing Hoku’s positive impact on the police station.

“First of all, I’ve seen people’s days get brightened just from Hoku’s presence,” Stevens said.

Hoku will undergo training and certification to become a full-fledged psychiatric service dog over the next year.

“She’ll be able to tend to those victims of crime by some of the skills we are going to try and have her learn,” Stevens said.

Victim advocate supervisor, Renee Flitton, said Hoku’s presence will help diffuse tense situations for the victims.

“It’s nice to have that feeling of “oh it’s a puppy” you know and it just kind of brings a ease to the environment,” Flitton said.

Stevens said Hoku is a guiding star who will have an incredible ability to connect with victims on a deeper level.

“A dog is a neutral party that a lot of people do have a fond affection to so that kind of breaks the ice with a lot of our interactions with them,” Stevens said.

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