Officer Zoey a great addition to the force

IT HAS NOT TAKEN long for the newest member of the Plymouth Police Department to start pulling her weight.

The department’s newest officer is four-legged, furry and, you could say, quite dogged when it comes to tracking down drugs, criminals and wrong-doers.

That’s because the department’s newest officer is a dog – Zoey, a chocolate labrador.

Zoey was officially “sworn in” at the City Council’s meeting Oct. 27, but she had already been on the job with her handler, Officer Justin Daniels for a week and a half at that point.

Zoey hit the ground running – with all four legs – on her new job, responding to 10 calls in her first nine days. Those were not just in Plymouth but throughout the county, from Sheboygan to Oostburg and beyond, mostly on drug-related calls.

Just last week, she proved her value beyond just fighting drugs – her primary duty – when she was called to Adell to the scene of an ATM robbery at a bank there. Zoey sniffed out the perpetrator and police were able to make an arrest right away.

That’s the kind of efficiency and service that Plymouth Police Department officials expected when they first proposed the K-9 unit program earlier this year.

The department sought contributions from the public to provide funds for the program, including the purchase of the dog and training for Officer Daniels with Zoey.

The community responded overwhelmingly.

The $60,000 needed for the program – and more – was raised in less than six months and the program was launched this fall. Donations of all sizes came in, along with financial support from a number of local businesses and industries. The Van Horn Automotive Group provided a fully-equipped K-9 unit squad car at a very reasonable cost to literally get the unit rolling.

The new K-9 will provide a major additional tool for law enforcement not only in the city of

Plymouth but throughout the entire county as well

– as is already more than evident.

When it issued its initial appeal for funds for the K-9 unit, department officials explained, “The predominant tool for law enforcement in the detection of illegal drugs is a canine unit. A K-9 unit would be on day-to-day patrol with its handler and accessible for traffic stops, available for educational purposes to local schools and civic groups, and it would fill the requests of local schools for canine searches throughout the school year. Canines can search a building in a fraction of the time it would take an officer.”

That has proven very true so far and should be even more so as time goes on.

The department has also pledged to finance the ongoing future costs of the K-9 unit through fundraising and grants, meaning residents are getting the benefits of an additional law enforcement tool without having the cost added to the tax rolls – a real plus for all.

Kudos to the community for its unflinching and generous support of the program, kudos to Officer Daniels for stepping up to provide the two-legged support and care the program needs, and kudos most of all to Zoey, the department’s newest officer and crime-fighting tool.

Welcome to the force and welcome to the city, Officer Zoey.

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