WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- The deputy dogs are officially on patrol. After years without a K9 program, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department put their first paws into service Thursday. After a brief meeting with the media, Radar and Leo took their first shift with deputies Troy Deiler and Cory Gladden.
Gladden says he has trained dogs for others, and is glad to be working with one everyday now. “I have worked in the past, working on training dogs whether they be for sport or for police work in the past, so this is a great opportunity for me to be on the other side of that seeing these dogs actually get out and work, not just handing them off and saying good luck.”
When fundraising started last summer, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department’s goal was to eventually get four dogs, one as soon as possible and another in the spring of 2014. An opportunity to save money on training led to getting Radar and Leo at the same time.
The new K9 program has received an even bigger jump start than predicted. Sheriff Scott Parks says a deputy from Columbia county who is originally from the Marshfield area applied for their open position, and he happens to be a K9 handler. “It worked out real well for us. The individual had a lot of good things going for him. His background and such was incredible. He’s got former military special forces (experience) and having a K9 handler role also paid dividends for us, so he is going to be starting with the department on Monday.”
Police dogs are the property of the departments they work in, but in this case, Sheriff Parks says they made a proposal to Columbia County. “I advised them that if they wanted to make an offer on us purchasing that dog from them because of the fact that the handler is now working for us, that we would be willing to purchase that dog from them. That other county thought it over and decided that they would sell the dog to us, so now we go from zero dogs to three dogs in about a month.” Parks says they were able to acquire the new deputy’s K9 companion at less cost than a new one right out of training camp.
Lieutenant Bill Milhausen leads the K9 program. He says fundraising efforts are ongoing to support the program through the Community Foundation. “We’ve raised about $32,000 and we’re shooting for more in that $60,000 range to stay the course for the duration of the service life of the dogs, which would take us out to about seven or nine years.”
The department’s goal is to support the K9 program entirely by donations with no tax levy money.
Donation information is available at the Community Foundation’s website .
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