By Joe Bachman
New K-9 addition, Lex, was sworn into duty on Tuesday night, while also commemorating the retirement of Diego, who served on the force for seven years.
“Community effort to bring K-9 to a police agency is awesome, and we share that story with others that want K-9’s,” said Chief of Police Kurt Heuer. “It is because of our alumni association that we have Diego.” This in regards to the fundraiser set up by the Wisconsin Rapids Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association who raised the money for a K-9 program seven years ago to acquire Diego.
“I’ve deployed Diego 334 times, and of that 219 were drug related deployments, and 119 were patrol — which are search warrants, building clearing, tracking; things like that,” said officer Dean Fleisner, who was partnered with Diego. “One thing I’m really proud of is the fact that I kind of view him as my firearm. I know I have a firearm, but if I don’t have to use it to save a life, then that’s a good career. We’ve been very successful in the drug work, very successful in tracking and finding people, and I’m hoping to carry that on with Lex.”
Those in the community can support the development of K-9 training through the purchase of Diego and Lex stuffed animals. All proceeds go towards this cause and can be found at Bow Wow Meow, Woodlands Vet, Pioneer Bank, and River Cities Bank, all located in Wisconsin Rapids.