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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


K9 unit to join police force

Throw the city of Madison a bone!

Capital K9s, a non-profit organization, is forming the first K9 patrol unit for the Madison Police Department.

In a media conference Wednesday, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Acting Chief of Police Noble Wray and Capital K9s President Boris Frank accepted the formation of the unit.


Volunteers from Madison, who will use donations and gifts to sponsor the K9 patrol unit at the MPD, comprise Capital K9s.

Currently, the MPD only employs one dog, Arno, a Dutch Shepard that had a paw in the Audrey Seiler search last spring. Arno is a dual-purpose dog assigned to the Dane County Narcotics. He is fully trained in narcotics detection and other patrol functions such as building searches and tracking.

Arno has located more than 3,200 grams of marijuana and almost 85 grams of cocaine base. The cash associated with Arno’s narcotics findings totals more than $89,000, according to the MPD website.

According to Frank, the cost to train the handler and dog and buy the necessary equipment like a specially outfitted squad car runs about $50,000. The highly trained dogs cost $13,000. Funding and gifts make up the next big step for financing the Capital K9s, according to Officer Emily Samson, MPD.

The squad cars the K9 Unit needs are similar to standard police squad cards, but they also require automatic systems to open windows if the inside temperature is too hot.

The program’s goal is to have three dogs by the end of the year. Police will assign the three dogs each to a specific shift, one for the morning, afternoon and night hours.

“We would like to have those three dogs ready by the end of the year, but there’s a lot of work to do,” Samson said.

Frank said the dogs required for the jobs are not ordinary house pets.

“They have to have a certain type of personality,” Frank said. “This isn’t something you toss your favorite Chihuahua into. These dogs have specialized training and personalities.”

The K9 Unit will help police officers involved in narcotics, search events and tracking.

“A patrol K9 unit would increase officer efficiency and get things done quickly,” Samson said.

K9s are able to search larger areas faster than officers, and one or two dogs could take the places of 30 to 40 officers, she added.

“A dog can go in and find a person and pinpoints where they are,” Frank said. “Officers don’t have to surround buildings and put a huge drain on the force with a dog. A lot of times perpetrators will surrender if a dog is involved.”

Samson said the program has been a dream in the works for years.

“This was something that had been proposed by numerous officers over the past years,” Samson said.

Frank said Capital K9s is going to reach out to the public, to businesses and to foundations in the community for sponsorship.

But the organization also is fundraising on a broader scale by involving kids, students and the community.

“Any contribution is welcome, especially any thoughts from dorms, fraternities, sororities or professional groups interested,” Frank said.

Capital K9s is checking if the UW Veterinary School is interested in becoming involved, Frank added.

Dogs in a K9 unit generally have a working life of about eight to nine years before their capabilities begin to diminish. For these reasons, the Capital K9s would also help front costs in buying and training new dogs.

The city pays for officers handling the dogs and the unit operation costs, Frank said. Contributions will go through the Madison Community Foundation, which is the fiscal agent involved in the program.

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