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      K9 crime fighter looking to retire

      He's one of the most loyal members of the Marquette Police Department, has a sense of smell second to none, and walks on all fours. He's Nero, a Belgium Shepherd, and one of Marquette Police Department's greatest assets in the fight against drugs.

      "He's very even tempered, he's easy to get along with," said Nero's handler, Sergeant Marty Munger. "He's got a strong desire to work. As soon as he's let out of the car, he wants to go to work."

      And his work pays off big time. The department estimates that during his over seven years working, Nero has brought in $150,000.

      "When I say $150,000 I'm talking about cash, drugs, assets being forfeited, for example, cars and property," Munger added.

      As Nero's handler, Munger has been with the star K9 every step of the way. The two of them patrol Marquette throughout the week and remain on call 24 hours, 7 days a week.

      Nero can pick up the scent of the five big drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and the increasingly prevalent meth. This extensive skill set keeps him in demand beyond county lines.

      "One of the things we've experienced with our current K9 unit is that we're all over the county with that dog, and on occasion, all over the state," said Marquette City Police Chief Michael Angeli.

      "He's got a strong desire to work," Munger said, "and he works for his reward, which right now for this particular dog is a tennis ball."

      Perhaps Nero's greatest reward is his upcoming retirement, where he'll hang up his harness for the last time and live out his days with his best friend.

      "He'll stay at my house," Munger concluded. "Now he'll become a pet. He can relax now."

      The Marquette City Police Department is planning a campaign for funding to purchase two new dogs that would replace Nero when he retires.