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RPD Looking To Hire A New Canine Unit


The Rhinelander Police Department is in the process of "hiring" the fourth canine in its history and they need public support.

Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier says the department's first dog started in 1987 that was funded by the Hodag Lions Club. That dog was active for five years. In 1997 the department received a canine officer from Marathon county.

Drago, the most recent dog, retired from the department in December.

Gauthier says he's interviewing two current officers to become the next canine handler ..

"....they will be involved in picking the kennel and the dog. That will give us the timetable when the program could be up and running again. Some of the kennels have a window as to when you can obtain a dog and we'll have to see which kennel is available and what their window is for opportunity...."

Gauthier says the highly sensitive canine nose is important in narcotics investigations. He says the dogs have also been used for tracking. He says if they find an open door during a third-shift inspection, they can send the dog in to investigate. They're also used for suspects who flee during a traffic stop. He says the dog also is a public relations vehicle for the department, enabling the public to see how officers do their jobs and get to know them.

He says there's more to it than just bringing in a dog...

"....We're attempting to raise $40,000, to cover the cost of the dog. Our old canine car is on it's last legs, When that was set up is wasn't set up to be a patrol car. The back seat should be split in half. Part of the seat could be used for prisoner transport and the other half would flow into the back, like and SUV, so the dog has more room...."

No tax dollars are used in the program and Gauthier says any public contributions are welcome. Contact Rhinelander Police if you have any questions. He hopes to have the program running by summertime.

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