STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - Law enforcement agencies are doing their best to increase the number of police dogs on their force. Portage County’s Sheriff’s Department is one of them. Deputy Daniel Wachowiak is the department’s only K9 handler, and Sheriff John Cherowitz believes it’s time to add another dog.
Wachowiak is teamed up with Baco, who will be seven years old next Friday. He says they’ve been deployed well over 140 times before being way on family leave. He says the ability to use a dog makes drug enforcement, tracking suspects, and searches much more efficent.
A committee has been formed to help with fundraising to finish coming up with nearly fifteen thousand dollars to acquire the next K9 by next spring. “We’re hoping to have him or her on board April or May in 2014, so this committee is going to be responsible for raising that money.”
The deputy says they have already been working on some activities to raise money for the new dog. “I have a golf outing I’m doing August 17th, but that’s already full, so we’ve got that. This past January I hosted an ice fishing tournament, and the ice fishing tournament raised about five thousand dollars.”
Wachowiak says getting another dog is important, because he is on duty seven days and off duty seven days, meaning they have to bring in a K9 from another department when he’s not working. “Go out and find drugs, or if we have to track someone. Baco does article searches, building searches, so there’s a great number of uses for the K9 and unfortunately when I’m off, the other week’s staff doesn’t have that extra tool in their tool box, so with the other dog, we’ll even things out.”
Wachowiak says he stays busy with Baco, as they are very proactive with finding drugs. Along with demonstrations and normal patrol duty, he says they make regular trips to area schools. “We go to schools, probably two or three times a year. Some of the high schools here, SPASH, Amherst, Rosholt, you know we’re always searching parking lots and lockers, and believe it or not, there’s a lot of contraband and drugs in our high schools.”
Portage County Sheriff’s Department is looking to add one more dog at this time. Nearby Marathon County doesn’t have their own K9 and wants to get between two and four dogs soon. Everest Metro Police just retired Lord, and acquired Aron to take his place. There are also K9 units in Wausau, Marshfield, and the Wood County Sheriff’s Department to name a few... and they are all kept very busy.