The Lethbridge Police Service is looking for volunteers wanting to help people in their time of need as Volunteer Crisis Support Workers.
Individuals who sign up will volunteer in the LPS Victim and Witness Services Unit, helping aid victims and witnesses of crime or who have experienced trauma. Unit Manager Catherine Pooley says to run the unit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, around 60 community volunteers are needed, and it is vital the team is made up of individuals of diverse ages, genders and cultures to represent the Lethbridge community. Pooley explains that once someone is hired as a Volunteer Crisis worker, they go through an in-depth training process.
“So we offer a fairly intensive training session after someone gets hired; it is a process to get through interviews and job shadows. This job is a unique skill set, so it is not maybe for everyone; we want them to have a chance to want to be there and learn about it that way.”
Pooley says during the training, volunteers learn and gain a better understanding of trauma crisis, how to work with LPS officers, and learn more about the resources available to victims in the Lethbridge community.
“Whether you are a victim of sexual assault or a victim of domestic violence, right down to some of the less serious crimes, we want to make sure we understand a typical victim experience, so when you show up to help someone, you have a starting point to be able to help going forward.”
Pooley adds that after the initial training, monthly sessions are held for all volunteers to participate in and continue their learning. There are also multiple resources for volunteers, including the peer support team, to support the entire unit.
“We don’t want this to be a hardship on anyone; we want this to be something that helps them to grow into an even more capable person.”
No specific experience is required to become a volunteer; however, LPS is looking for those 18 years old and older with a clear criminal record. Pooley adds they look for volunteers to sign up for a two-year commitment. LPS is looking to add 15 to 20 volunteers to the program this year.
Pooley says in 2022, the program put in over 4,000 volunteer hours for approximately 2,500 volunteers across the City of Lethbridge.
Those interested have until October 15th to apply online.