The Wauwatosa Police Department will soon have its first furry, four-legged officer.
A German shepherd has been purchased from a kennel in Sharpsville, Pa., that specializes in providing dogs to law enforcement agencies.
Officer Tim Kastner, who has served on the department for eight years, has been chosen to work as the canine handler. He was chosen from 16 officers who asked to be considered for the position, Capt. Jeff Sutter said.
Kastner was selected after an evaluation by department supervisors, interview process, and a physical fitness and agility test.
Kastner will attend a six-week handlers training academy at the kennel beginning in late March. Then he will bring the dog back to Wauwatosa.
To be a handler, an officer must forgo promotions and shift changes and commit to staying with the Police Department. Police dogs are expected to have a work life of seven to nine years, and during that time, the animal lives and works with its handler.
The Common Council agreed to pay $5,000 toward the cost of the canine officer program, which will be used to work the street patrol and narcotics beats. Having a dog on the force could decrease worker's compensation claims and increase revenues through asset forfeitures.
Grant money is funding most of the $40,000 cost associated with buying the dog, and training it and its handler.
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