Lucky will participate in animal-assisted interventions for the Office of the Director of Police Accountability. Credit: City of Berkeley

The Office of the Director of Police Accountability has a new worker dedicated to setting people at ease if they have to come in to talk about a difficult situation.

His name is Lucky, and he’s a labrador-cocker spaniel mix from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, and a registered therapy animal.

Berkeley’s director of police accountability, Hansel Aguilar, who will also be Lucky’s handler, said it can be difficult for community members to discuss negative experiences with investigators and that dogs can help remove barriers.

“We have very difficult conversations, especially with youth,” Aguilar said.

Lucky will be available for “animal-assisted interventions” if community members need emotional support while “retelling their negative interactions with police,” according to a presentation Aguilar gave the Police Accountability Board Wednesday.

“Lucky’s presence will not only help our office as we continue our work to bridge the gap between the Berkeley Police Department and the community but also provide support for our hardworking staff who engage in challenging work,” Aguilar said in a prepared statement announcing the program Monday.

Lucky is registered with Pet Partners, a Washington-based nonprofit that sets standards and curricula for therapy animals and their handlers.

Alex N. Gecan joined Berkeleyside in 2023 as a senior reporter covering public safety. He has covered criminal justice, courts and breaking and local news for The Middletown Press, Stamford Advocate and...