GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is looking for people to volunteer to comfort the families of victims of unexpected death.

When a person dies suddenly and not under direct medical care, whether it be natural death, homicide, suicide, drug overdose or fatal car crashes, a police officer must respond to the scene, according to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Volunteers called victim advocates join officers when they go to notify family and friends of the person who died. They are there to sit with them, answer questions and provide general support in their time of need.

Last year, deputies in Kent County responded to around 332 calls that involved a death, the sheriff’s office said in a release.

Now, the department is looking for on-call volunteers to join their Victim Services Unit to assist with these calls. Volunteers must be 18 years or older and able to commit to being on-call for 7 days or nights a month including some weekends and holidays. The sheriff’s office is looking for people with “great listening skills, compassion, and a willingness to focus on others,” according to a release.

Volunteers must also go to a 20-hour weekend training, monthly debriefings and 12 continuing education hours per year. They also must be willing to complete a background check.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in joining, contact Victim Services Unit Coordinator AJ Emery at or 616.632.6221.