Menominee County has two police K-9s, but it recently got its third four-legged crimefighter. She's an 18-month-old Dutch Shepherd named Vesta, and she and her human partner have been hard at work training and getting to know one another.
Vesta is trained in handler protection, clearing buildings, tracking, and, of course, she's got a nose to sniff out drugs.
Vesta and Deputy David Ashby joined Deputy Tom Draze and his dog, Grace, as they rehearsed real-life scenarios.
â??It's very rewarding," says Deputy Ashby. "Theyâ??re unbelievably smart to know all this stuff in a short period of time. We had five weeks of training with this, and she's getting there. Sheâ??s got a long ways to go, but we're on the right track."
Vesta and Ashby patrol the roads and work to fight the growing drug problem.
Police say that about 85 percent of the crimes in the county are drug-related. The added K-9 presence will hopefully put a dent in the drug problem, and having a younger dog on the force will help the department's continuing fight.
Deputy Draze says the average age for a police dog is 10 years old. His dog is 12 and a half years old and may retire in the next year.
So what's it like working with the latest addition to the team?
â??It's been great,â?? explains Deputy Draze. â??It's nice having a fresh breath of air on board. Heâ??s all excited and ready to go and gung-ho, so it's great to have somebody to go and train with and do this stuff. Itâ??s fun to watch a new dog work as well."
These highly trained dogs don't come without a price. Ashby says he's very grateful to the community. Getting Vesta was made possible through 100 percent donation from businesses and individuals.