South Milwaukee police K-9 unit; department fundraising for program

The South Milwaukee Police Department (SMPD) is taking the steps needed to start a K-9 unit on the force. 

"We just felt the timing was right," said Capt. Dan Fournier of the South Milwaukee Police Department. "The other departments that do have them use them, and they are a great aspect to the department."

In late 2022, officials announced an intent to fundraise for and implement a K-9 unit. In January, paperwork was filed with the IRS to establish a 501(c)(3) organization.

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Money raised has been through donations, sales of the department's K-9 t-shirts and plush dogs, and a penny war being organized by the School District of South Milwaukee

With the public’s help, the police department expects to have a K-9 join the force by the end of 2023.

Capt. Dan Fournier 

Capt. Fournier said police departments like Cudahy and St. Francis helped play a role. 

"That’s where Cudahy PD got their last most current K-9 through them, and we were very impressed with the training of the dog and with the handler," the captain said.

When is the exact due date?

"The plan is six weeks of training, starting in August, and the plan is by October, to have the dog on duty," Fournier said.

Officials with the department say they have not picked the exact dog, but they picked the breed – a Dutch Shepherd. 

Some of the money for the K-9 program is coming from a grant, but the community is also playing a big role in making this happen.

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"We are selling the t-shirts and little plush stuffed animals to help raise funds for the unit," Fournier said."

Four elementary schools and one Catholic school in South Milwaukee also got in on the action. They raised over 1,200 pounds of change to make the K-9 unit a reality.

Fournier said it is the missing piece that the department needs. 

"I think we were looking for more ways to bring the full service that a police department should deliver to its community," Fournier said. "They become very important in missing person cases, runaways, narcotic investigations, and really community outreach."

South Milwaukee Police Department

Capt. Fournier said it is something the entire community is looking forward to.

"I think it will raise spirits not only for officers and people in this department, and the city building here, but I think it will bring some joy to kids," Fournier said.

Again, officials say sales of the t-shirts and plush dogs will continue at the SMPD counter at South Milwaukee City Hall. Donations can also be dropped off or mailed to the SMPD at 2424 15th Avenue in South Milwaukee. Checks can be made out to the SMPD K-9 Program.

A fundraising campaign with our business community will be starting soon as well. Commitments to support the K-9 have already been made by Oak Creek Veterinary Care Clinic, Walmart, Farm & Fleet, and the South
Milwaukee Lions Club.