DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver District Attorney’s Office has recruited a new staff member, and he has four legs and a tail. Rylan is a highly-trained two-year-old Labrador retriever mix that has helped nearly a dozen people in the courtroom.
The puppy has the important job of offering support to survivors of crime, and will even sit next to someone testifying in court.
“Rylan is already providing comfort to survivors and helping them be more open when they recount the details of what happened to them. That in turn should lead to better case outcomes,” District Attorney Beth McCann said in a prepared statement.
The facility dog has undergone an extensive two-year specialized training program where he learned over 40 commands. Senior Deputy District Attorney Jason Kramer volunteered to be his handler and also had to go through two weeks of training himself in order to work with and care for Rylan.
“Unlike service dogs that work around the clock, Rylan goes to work with me, but he gets nights and weekends off and is just a normal 2-year-old lab mix,” said Kramer.
Rylan is becoming a regular in the courtroom and interacts with staff, attorneys and witnesses. When allowed by the judges, he will lie at the feet of a person, out of sight of the jury, while he or she testifies.
His calm and quiet demeanor helps victims get through tough situations. People in the district attorney’s office say Rylan has a soothing effect on people who have suffered through criminal trauma, and he is especially good at providing support for children. The DA’s office will have its most popular member working with the Veterans Court, Juvenile Court and children at the Rose Andom Center.