Criminals beware, there is a new officer in town and he's got four legs and tail. Meet Zander a fun loving, but hardworking member of the Kronenwetter Police Department's K-9 Unit.
Zander is the department's second K-9 officer. Their first K-9, Chip, had to be put down back in March after contracting Blastomycosis, a fungal infection of the lungs. After Chip's passing, Kronenwetter K-9 Officer Luis Lopes-Serrao thought their K-9 program was over.
"Originally, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue to be a K-9 handler because I knew it was going to be hard to become attached to another dog," Officer Lopes-Serrao said.
But the community stepped up in a big way. Just weeks after Chip's passing, the BA Esther Greenheck Foundation donated $10,000 to K-9 program. Enough money to buy a new dog and pay for training. The remaining expenses were paid with donations from the community.
"It was pretty incredible. I knew it was a good program, but it's hard especially in these hard economic times, to tell people that we need to be spending more money. So I was really unsure of that was going to go. But to see people just kind of come out like that was very incredible," Officer Lopes-Serrao told NewsChannel 7.
For the past month Zander and Officer Luis Lopes-Serrao have been busy training at the Police K-9 Academy in Campbellsport, a small town just south of Fond Du Lac. The duo's training ranges from tracking down suspects and officer protection to drug detection, a skill Officer Lopes-Serrao says is very important.
"We're going to continue to work at going out into the schools and doing random school searches and car searches to make sure we're keeping drugs out of our local schools," Officer Lopes-Serrao explained.
The academy is about more than just training. It's also a time for the new partners to bond. Something Officer Lopes-Serrao says is going well. Although Officer Lopes-Serrao misses Chip, he's looking forward to a bright future with Zander.
"I have high expectations. I want him to be as good or greater than our first dog," Officer Lopes-Serrao said.
Officer Lopes-Serrao and Zander both passed their training and our now certified Officers. They will be back home in Kronenwetter on Monday.
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