By Jacob Mathias
The Portage County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit received a donation Thursday from Copps Market’s annual “Copps for Cops” fundraiser.
The fundraiser, held every year around the Fourth of July, raises money through donations and raffles to support the K-9 unit. Dan Eiden, Copps dairy lead, organizes the event and presented the check for $2,219.
This is the fifth year Copps has raised money for the K-9 unit.
“The community is extremely generous; they really back the sheriff’s office,” said Eiden. “There’s [sic] usually people waiting to come and see the dogs, and there’s a lot of photo ops with the kids.”
Sheriff Mike Lukas said more donations have come in since the fundraiser from donors who couldn’t make it to Copps — which brought the total to well over $2,500 though an exact number isn’t known.
The total brings this year’s fundraiser on par with last year’s event, which raised $2,700.
The money raised goes towards purchasing the dogs, food, veterinary bills and other necessary care. Each Belgian Malanois costs the sheriff’s office about $20,000, and Lukas said the K-9 fund requires about $40,000 in reserves in case the dept. needs to purchase two dogs at the same time to keep the unit full.
As it is, the Sheriff’s budget does not provide for K-9 units, hence the donations and fundraising.
“We have overwhelming support from the public,” said Lukas.
Deputy Dan Wachowiak and his K-9 partner, Yent, were present to receive the Copps donation. Wachowiak has worked with Yent since October 2016. Prior to that, he’d been partnered for seven years with K-9 partner Baco who was unfortunately euthanized after suffering from a number of illnesses.
“Yent works very good [sic]. I have no concerns…his detection work is very good. His patrol work is on point,” said Wachowiak.
The other K-9 unit, Lady, is partnered with Deputy John White.
The Portage County Sheriff’s Office accepts donations all year long at their office, located at 1500 Strongs Ave. in Stevens Point.