MINOCQUA - In less than two months, a new member will join the Minocqua Police Department. For the first time in more than 15 years the department is getting a K9 unit.
Officer Matthew Tate was chosen to be the new K9 officer. He leaves for training in North Carolina Saturday.
"It seems like it was just yesterday we started fundraising, and all of a sudden it is here and it's like, holy cow, it's already January," said Tate.
The department's goal was to raise $80,000 to start the K9 unit. In total, more than $100,000 was donated.
Tate will be paired up with his K9 at the training center in North Carolina. He will train with his new partner for six weeks.
"I'm really looking forward to the training aspect, learning about the dogs, being able to use it, being able to help people with the dog," Tate said. "Community interaction is great. There's so many different angles and things we can do with a K9. It's outstanding. We're pretty excited about it."
The department has outfitted a K9 vehicle to prep for the dog's arrival. The K9 squad car cost almost $60,000.
"In the event that I'm in a struggle with somebody, I can just simply hold down a button for a certain amount time and it's gonna pop the door [to let the K9 out] automatically for me," Tate said.
The car also has a safety system that will send alerts if the car turns off while the K9 is still inside.
Tate says that the K9 program wouldn't be possible without the donations the department has received.
"It's been awesome. Without the community this wouldn't be," Tate said. "Essentially they purchased this vehicle through their donations, their hard-earned money that they donated to us. It's been outstanding. It's way above and beyond anything that we could've ever imagined."
Tate says the K9 unit will be on call 24/7. The pair's first official day of duty will be March 1.