By Brandi Makuski
Stevens Point police introduced their two newest officers on April 6.
K-9 officers Luna and Fala, both Belgian malinois from Vohn Liche Kennels in Indiana, spent last week bonding with their new human partners, officers Austin Lee and J.D. Ballew. The group stopped by Pacelli and SPASH on Friday to recognize three local students who created the K-9 unit’s logos.
Assistant Police Chief Mike Rottier said his department reached out to both high schools’ art departments earlier this year, asking for student contributions in crafting new logos for the unit’s Challenge Coin, K-9 squad cars and t-shirts.
Pacelli student Elizabeth Krupka, 17, is the daughter of Jeff and Kim in Stevens Point. Her logo, in the shape of a paw print, will be installed on the department’s K-9 squad cars.
A design created by Mackenzie Schlagenhaft, 18, also at Pacelli, will be used on t-shirts the department plans to sell during fundraisers. She is the daughter of Brian and Jill in Plover.
Mike Glodosky, an 18-year-old who attends SPASH, will have his dog head design stamped into a coin, which the department will also use during fundraising. He is the son of Tom and Maureen in Plover.
“We’re just happy to have this partnership we do with the school district,” Rottier said. “It’s a great way to involve the students in the process and come up with logos for us.”
Larry Thiess, principal at Pacelli High School, was particularly taken with the dogs.
“It’s exciting to see the city finally have its own dogs,” he said, adding the school would welcome the unit into its building so the dogs can practice sweeping schools.
Ballew and K-9 partner Luna, and Lee with his partner Fala, leave this week for six week of training in Indiana.
The department will need to raise $50,000 to cover the cost of two dogs, equipment, and training for handlers. After the initial fundraising, Rottier said, the dept. would maintain the program with asset forfeitures.
So far, the department has raised about $11,000.
The SPPD announced it would install the new K-9 post last year, in part to help offset the loss of a federal grant that would have paid for an additional narcotics officer. While SPPD has several detectives who assist with drug cases, it has only one full-time position dedicated to narcotics. That position works with other drug officers from Plover and the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, and comprise part of the Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force.
For more information, or to donate, contact Rottier at (715) 346-1517.
Tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Stevens Point Police Department Attn: K-9 Officer Fund, 933 Michigan Ave. Stevens Point, Wis. 54481.