The Portage County Sheriff's Office K-9 Program began in 1991, with the first handler Sgt. John Keener and K-9 Ingo. Ingo was a German Shepherd from Sun Dog Kennels, located in Cross Plains, WI. The program was first funded through a donation by the Portage County Banker's Association and was approximately $3,000.00, which covered the cost of Ingo. Sgt. Keener worked Ingo until retiring him in 1998. Since then, the Sheriff's Office has worked six dogs, including the current dogs--Baco and Lady.
Deputies Wachowiak and White were paired with their Belgian Malinois K-9 partners at Vohne Liche Kennels, which is located in Denver, Indiana. Vohne Liche Kennels has a well known reputation for training well socialized police and military dogs. The deputies attended Vohne Liche Kennels' handlers course to learn basic K-9 techniques and training standards. Deputy Wachowiak graduated in May 2010 with his K-9 partner, Baco, and Deputy White graduated in May 2014 with his K-9 partner, Lady.
Baco and Lady are dual purpose patrol / narcotics detection dogs. Both dogs have European origins, with Baco born in Saint-Oedenrode, Netherlands, in 2006, and Lady born in Hungary in 2011. Both dogs began training as puppies and were carefully selected by Vohne Liche Kennels for their natural drive to work. Both dogs know their commands spoken by the handlers in Dutch, and are both very obedient and loyal to their handlers. Baco and Lady are able to detect the odors of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, as well as their derivatives, and are specially trained in the following:
*Tracking and apprehending suspects, or searching for lost persons
*Protecting their handlers
*Conducting searches of large areas for articles
*Searching buildings, vehicles and other areas for narcotics
*Eating Cheese Nips on their off days, and prefer sleep number 60
The deputies take their K-9 partners home to live with them and are responsible for the everyday care for their K-9 partners, as well as continuous training to keep proficient with K-9 and handler skills. It is estimated that Baco will work with the Office until 2016 and Lady until 2021. Each dog will be approximately 10 years old at retirement, unless the handler feels their partner is still capable of doing their job. The vast majority of funding for the K-9 program is done through donations. Any donation for the K-9 program is graciously accepted. To donate, please click the Donate button below, or send donations addressed to: Portage County K-9, Attn: Deputy Wachowiak, 1500 Strongs Avenue, Stevens Point, WI 54481.