MEQUON — The Mequon Community Foundation recently announced its partnership with the Mequon Police Department to raise money to bring on another K-9 within the next year as the first step in transitioning K-9 Officer Iron to retirement.
In MCF’s 2019 annual appeal letter, board President Jim Button announced the transitional K-9 initiative. After five years of service, 7-year-old officer Iron is ready for retirement. The Mequon Police Department is ready to bring in the next service dog within the next year.
“The Police Department and those assisting them on this project are hopeful that generous residents in the community will again step up and assist with the purchase of the dog, the required training for the dog and handler, the specially outfitted squad car and other necessary items,” the letter read.
An anonymous Mequon resident has offered to make a matching gift of $50,000 if the Mequon Police Department can raise another $50,000 by June 30, 2020. The fundraising goal is $150,000 to acquire, equip, train and maintain a second K-9 officer and handler during a two-year transition period, until Officer Iron’s retirement.
“We ask that you consider supporting this worthy cause and continue building on the success of the K-9 program that is integral to keeping our children and our community safe,” the letter read.Police dogs typically have a six to eight-year service life. The new K-9 would be a German Shepherd from Germany, around 1 to 2 years old and completely trained. All the commands for the dog are in German. The typical cost for the dog alone is $15,000. The dog is trained at the Steinig Tal Police K9 Academy in Campbellsport.
In 2006 funds were raised to start Mequon’s first K-9 program. Since 2014, the Mequon Police Department has had Officer Iron protecting the community.
Handler Sgt. Jake Schiller and Iron were deployed 162 times and assisted with 53 arrests. He has sniffed 108 vehicles, of which 86 had positive indications for narcotics. He has also tracked and found missing children and adults with dementia.
In addition, Sgt. Schiller and Officer Iron participated in 15 school events and made 11 public appearances last year, according to Police Department data.
Since 1999, MCF has made grants totaling more than $750,000 for the betterment of Mequon, according to a press release. These funds helped improve parks, open spaces, recreational quality and athletic amenities, strengthen cultural and historic organizations and support the Mequon police, fire and emergency response teams.
“During this season of thanks and appreciation, we ask you to consider a charitable contribution to the Mequon Community Foundation – whether it is to support the K9 project or another worthy program,” the letter read. “Your gifts will be used to make Mequon a special place to live.”
*Reprinted with permission from Madison Goldbeck of the News Graphic