K9 Officer Zoey’s first six months a success

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – It’s been a busy – and productive – first six months for the Plymouth Police Department’s newest four-legged officer.

Police Chief Jeffrey Tauscheck gave the City Council a report on K-9 officer Zoey, a charcoal labrador who joined the force last October, working with Officer Justin Daniels.

“I’m very happy with the outcome and the way the program is working,” Tauscheck commented. “It’s been a successful program. I have to give credit to Justin as well. He puts a lot of time into it. He’s dedicated to the program.”

Zoey has been deployed 43 times by the department, according to Tauscheck, including 24 traffic stops, 14 other drug searches and five other tracking requests.

The dog has helped in the seizure of approximately $7,000 worth of drugs and $3,587 in drug-related cash. The captured drugs included marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD and Ecstasy along with needles, pipes and other assorted drug paraphernalia.

She tracked down a suspect in a burglary at the Adell Bank last fall and helped recover evidence from the suspect’s residence that led to additional burglary and armed robbery charges.

Zoey also successfully tracked an elderly dementia patient who had wandered away from the Cedar Grove Gardens.

She has assisted several other law enforcement agencies, including the Elkhart Lake, New Holstein, Sheboygan and Sheboygan Falls police departments as well as the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department and the Sheboygan County Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement Group.

Tauscheck said Zoey and Daniels both continue to train regularly, including twice a month in Green Bay working with the Brown County K9 unit – a total of more than 177 hours since last October.

The council also heard a report from Officer Paul Wagner on drug issues in the city and county as well as the department’s drug enforcement efforts.

“Pretty much any drug is capable of being found in Sheboygan County,” Wagner told the aldermen.

“Heroin is definitely a big problem in Sheboygan County still,” Wagner said, although he added that its prevalence is less widespread than in the recent past.

In the Plymouth area, according to Wagner, opioids are becoming a bigger issue than heroin.

Also of concern is stronger strains of marijuana showing up in the county. Wagner explained that the stronger strains of marijuana tend to make users more paranoid and more violent.

“Most of our investigations are based on anonymous tips,” Wagner said when Alderman John Nelson asked what citizens could do to help in the effort to combat drugs in the city.

Wagner said residents should not hesitate to report any suspicious activities or vehicles.

The council approved an ordinance removing the city’s provision for rebating the $10,000 initial fee for new Reserve Class B tavern licenses.

City Attorney Crystal Fieber explained that the Legislature passed a law prohibiting the practice this year and that the ordinance reflected that.

Like many communities across the state, the city had a policy to return all or a portion of the $10,000 fee to license holders as an economic development incentive.

The reserve licenses are new licenses created when a community reaches certain population milestones. State law limits tavern licenses to one per every 500 population in a municipality.

The $10,000 fee for the new licenses was established by Legislature several decades ago when the reserve license system was established.

In Plymouth, the procedure was to have the Redevelopment Authority determine whether any of the fee could be rebated to a license holder as an economic development incentive.

City Administrator Brian Yerges said the fee money will now go into the city’s general fund.

The city currently has one open reserve license available.

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