Police K-9 program continues to be valuable

EFFECTIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT REQUIRES a wide variety of tools.

For the Plymouth Police Department, as well as for a lot of law enforcement agencies, one of the most effective tools comes on four legs.

Not two officers working together but, in this case, one officer on four legs – a police dog.

Plymouth Police Officer Justin Daniels gave the annual report on the department’s K-9 Unit program to the City Council last week.

Zoey, a chocolate Labrador, joined the force nearly three years ago and has proved to be a valuable addition to maintaining peace and order in the city and beyond.

Zoey and Daniels were deployed for various calls and incidents nearly six times a month last year. That’s close to what they’ve averaged since Zoey came on board in October 2015.

As is usual, most of Zoey’s work has been in the area of searching for and identifying illegal drugs – all but five of her deployments in the last year were for that purpose.

As a result, there were 27 arrests made and a total of 79 citations, arrests and charges.

Drugs located included marijuana, THC wax, heroin, methamphetamine, Ecstasy and cocaine/crack cocaine, all with a total street value of $9,950. The department also seized $5,400 in cash and one drug dealer vehicle as a result of Zoey’s efforts.

According to Daniels, 95 percent of the arrests involving Zoey would not have been made without the K-9 unit.

In addition to working with the Plymouth Police Department, Zoey and Daniels assisted the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, the Sheboygan Police Department, the Elkhart Lake Police Department, the Sheboygan Falls Police Department and the Sheboygan County Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement Group in the last year.

Zoey has also been an invaluable tool in searches for suspects and missing persons. Daniels cited several incidents where the dog was able to track down fleeing suspects who had eluded officers.

A dog like Zoey is much more efficient at searching for and identifying illegal drugs than her two-legged counterparts. Daniels said that, in many cases, police are able to confirm the presence of drugs that, without her assistance, would require obtaining a search warrant, often not feasible or possible in a timely manner.

The best policing involves the entire community and Zoey is a perfect example of that.

The K-9 unit was launched entirely with fund-raising and other support from the community and it continues to be funded entirely outside the police department’s regular, tax-supported budget.

Several local companies stepped up in 2015 to provide a large portion of the original $60,000 cost of acquiring and training Zoey, either through cash, in-kind or material donations.

Since then individuals, organizations and local businesses have stepped forward to provide the funds to finance the program annually, covering the costs of food, veterinary care, training and more.

“We appreciate all the support from the community,” Daniels said.

Daniels told the council he and Zoey train a minimum of 16 hours a month and usually more.

All of that money and time have proven to be a great investment for the department and for residents of the city.

Daniels told the council Zoey will turn five next month. “If she stays healthy, I can’t see why she couldn’t work another five years,” Daniels said.

With the continued support and appreciation of the entire community, that should happen.


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