Training, community engagement sets Green Bay K9 Unit apart

GREEN BAY, Wis.-- -
Green Bay Police Officer Derek Wicklund was used to working alone. In Green Bay, officers don't have partners. 
Until he met George.
"He can do things I can't and together we make a great team," Officer Wicklund explained.
George is a German Shepherd K9 officer in Green Bay.
He and Officer Wicklund have spent two years sniffing around the streets of downtown Green Bay.
"In between calls I either train or I'm looking for ways to use him because he's a very valuable, useful tool," Officer Wicklund said about George.
To perform the job to the best of his tail-wagging abilities, George and his fellow K9 officers have to train.
The better they're trained, the more they can help the Green Bay Police Department serve the community.
"I want to make Green Bay the best police department in the Midwest," said Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.
That's why Chief Smith has made training a priority for both K9 and human officers.
"I want our officers to be the best all around, so that when someone thinks where's the best place? Where do I want to go if I'm one of those top tier recruits out there that everybody's competing for? One place: Green Bay," Chief Smith said.
Officer Wicklund and George spend their days sniffing out drugs and chasing down criminals.
"There's enough action and excitement to keep you busy," said Officer Wicklund.
But the two also spend time helping other officers.
"My shift's very young, so I try to educate the guys and the girls on my shift on what I'm looking for and how to do what I've become very good at doing," explained Officer Wicklund. 
Another way to make the department better.
"They want to know that the bar is set really high here in Green Bay, which it is, and they want to know that everybody is going to be held accountable to the same high standard here," said Chief Smith.
Accountability and community engagement are two key parts of Chief Smith's plan for the department.
"By being really a part of the community and hoping people recognize that policing is something we do with the community not to the community," said Chief Smith.
For the officers, Green Bay isn't just the community they protect and serve. It's the place they call home, and their fellow officers are like family, including the four-legged officers.
This summer, the K9 unit lost one of its officers, Cops. Now, a young boy is raising money to try and buy the K9 unit a new dog. To donate to Ethan's Cause for Paws, visit:
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