WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Some Packers fans will be cheering for the opposing quarterback this weekend... not on the football field, but for something else. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s foundation just announced the latest recipient of a grant is the Wausau Police Department.
Police Chief Jeffrey Hardel says they noticed that Roethlisberger’s foundation awards a police or fire department a K-9 grant in or near every community that the Steelers travel to this season. Hardel figured it may go to Green Bay or somewhere in the Fox Valley, but they applied anyway and won. “We saw that they were coming to Green Bay. We completed the application, and we were notified just this week that we were the recipient. We’re very pleased about that.”
Getting and taking care of police dogs is not cheap. Hardel says the grant is about $13,000, and covers all but about $4,000 of the up front cost. “With the K-9 itself, and the training and the travel, it costs about $17,000. We’re a little bit short of that, but we should be able to find the additional $4,000 to complete the training.” Hardel says that $17,000 cost is just to get each dog and officer started. “It doesn’t include the veterinarian cost and the food, and the vehicle. You know, we have to have a special vehicle, and that K-9 vehicle has to be equipped with special equipment for the K-9 handlers.” Hardel says they received the award notification this week, and put everything in motion to acquire the dog and training. “Now that we have this K-9, we’ve identified the handler for this new K-9, we’ve got the training set up. I believe that it’s in February of next year.”
Wausau Police already have three K-9’s on the force, but Hardel says they run four shifts, so having another dog to work with that fourth shift will be beneficial considering the number of drug investigations they are involved in.
(Our interview with Chief Jeffrey Hardel can be heard on our website, here.)