MENOMONIE — Beginning this month, Dunn County residents can expect to see a second K9 officer on patrol for the county sheriff’s office.
Rip, a 1½-year-old German Shepherd, will begin in Dunn County alongside his handler Deputy Brennan Porter on April 22.
The Dunn County sheriff’s office began fundraising to add a second patrol K9 in January.
The office met its goal sooner than Sheriff Kevin Bygd expected. The Menomonie Lions Club donated $15,000, the Menomonie Culver’s delivered custard to donors and many businesses and community members donated to the fund, Bygd said.
Although the office allocated $4,000 in its budget to add a new K9, it wasn’t enough for the $20,000 cost of buying and training a K9, training a handler and equipping a squad vehicle.
“Without the donations from the community, it wouldn’t be possible for us to add another K9 and put him to work,” Bygd said.
Rip will join the office’s current K9, 5-year-old Jax, who is handled by Sgt. Jason Stalker.
Bygd said Rip is receiving the same all-around training and will complete the same duties as Jax: tracking, drug detection, apprehension, officer safety and patrol work.
“Jax has saved some lives,” Bygd said. “We’ve had individuals we probably would have had to use deadly force on if Jax hadn’t been there.”
While the office is hoping Jax can work for another four to five years, adding Rip means the office can schedule the two K9s on different rotations, so a patrol dog will be out almost every day. It’s something Bygd said the county needs.
Methamphetamine use is “more prevalent,” and in 2018 a quarter of operating while intoxicated driving stops stemmed from drugged driving, rather than alcohol intoxication, Bygd said.
“We have people running around all day long that are driving impaired. The dog obviously will help locate those items, get us into more vehicles.”
Menomonie Lions Club second vice president Wendy Wold said the club felt another K9 was a “very worthy contribution,” saying one K9-handler pair can’t handle the needs of Dunn County alone.
“We as a club felt the needs of missing children and adults, along with the continued drug problems within the community, was worth having another K-9,” Wold said.
While the sheriff’s office has met its goal — it had raised $21,890 as of Wednesday — the office will keep accepting donations for the fund to pay veterinary bills and keep Rip healthy, Bygd said.
“It’s nice to see that the community supports this,” Bygd said.
Rip, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office’s newest K9 officer, will begin patrol duties in Dunn County on Monday, April 22.