TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawk Police Department saw some major staffing changes in the past year. There's a new police chief, and it got its first non-human member.
The department launched a major crackdown on drug crimes in the area. Now, that newest member has hit the streets to help them out.
Meet Vali, Tomahawk's new drug dog. Vali and her partner Officer Ryan Picl have only been on the job together for two weeks. But in that short time, Vali already shows major promise.
"We've deployed her six times on cars and she's alerted on every one of them. And items have been found inside each car," says Picl.
Vali isn't a patrol dog. That means she doesn't chase and bring down suspects. But she can track people, and she's trained to find all kinds of drugs.
"She's trained for marijuana, coke, methamphetamine, opiate base like heroin and amphetamines," says Picl.
For the canine handler, it's a 24 hour a day, seven day a week commitment. Chief Al Elvins says Picl is the right man for the job.
"Ryan's got a drive and he's able to be aggressive without showing an aggressive nature to people. If he knows that his job is to go out there and make the street safer that's what he's going to do rain, shine, day or night," says Chief Elvins.
The duo will be instrumental in the department's effort to make it harder for people to bring drugs into the community. The drug crackdown has already been successful. In past years, the most drug cases Tomahawk police have had was 84. This year, they've already reached 101, and it's only June.
"We're getting a lot of kudos, but it's nothing I've done. The only thing that I've done in this department is taken the handcuffs off the officers and told them to do their job," says Chief Elvins.
The police have another partner: the community.
"The Animal Clinic of Tomahawk, Dr. Julie has gone above and beyond for us. She's given us all her services for free. One vendor that she had gave us food for life so it's absolutely no cost to the taxpayers," says ," says Chief Elvins.
If people keep contributing the way they have been, there will be enough in the canine fund to bring another dog onto the force when Vali retires.
You can contribute to the canine fund by contacting the Tomahawk Police Department.
RHINELANDER - Emergency first responders save lives and build trust in the community.
And now the Rhinelander Police Department has a new member to do that.
They swore in the new officer Friday morning.
Mark Raddatz and his family gathered at the Rhinelander City Hall for the ceremony.
Raddatz is excited to be in Rhinelander and to make a positive impact in the community.
"I think it's very important for people to know what we do and how involved we are with the community and how much good we do. A lot of times people don't see us doing all the behind the scenes things and good acts," said Raddatz.
Raddatz is the 17th member on the police force, making the department full again. That addition will help with involvement around town as well.
"We have the ability to do extra programming out in the community. Our officers have more time to spend building more positive relationships within the community, instead of just reacting to calls," said Police Chief Michael Steffes.
Raddatz has worked in other departments across Wisconsin and he's looking forward to being in Rhinelander.
LANGLADE COUNTY - A dead crow found in Langlade County last week tested positive for West Nile virus. It's the first crow to test positive in Langlade County since surveillance started for the virus on May 1.
The Langlade County Health Department wants people to be more careful when trying to prevent mosquito bites. The virus is spread to humans through infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds.
MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification pending an appeal.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction this week allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explain why they couldn't get the identification.
RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.
They certainly don't look forward to those hot and humid days that make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
This week, Rhinelander's Camp Birchrock has focused on keeping their campers cool all day long.
"We've been getting in the water, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Doing a lot of fun things to keep us cool," said 11-year-old Genevion Boid.
This is his first year as a camper at Birchrock.
Camp Director Johanna Sommers says the heat hasn't stopped them from doing any activities, but they do remain mindful of the sun.
"We make sure that they're drinking water all day," Sommers said. "Water bottles are a must and sunscreen, especially. We put it on every hour at least."
Luckily at the camp there's a lot of shade created by trees, giving the campers and counselors some relief from all of that heat. In a lot of areas around the camp, they also have water fountains.
In addition to keeping the campers hydrated, counselors also make sure to limit time in the sun.
"We do a little bit less of hiking and sports field activities, because the sports field is kind of open to the sun," Sommers said. "We try not to do too much out there just so they don't get overheated and over exhausted."
12-year-old Eleanor Domnick says she doesn't mind the heat. It gives her a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
"It's really fun to go swimming and just go in the play field and hang out with your friends," Domnick said.
The campers at Camp Birchrock are sure enjoying staying cool, while also having some fun.
The camp offers overnight sessions and regular day camp programs every summer.
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