The Stanley Police Department picked up one of its newest officers from the Minneapolis International Airport May 22, joining other agencies doing the same.
He was born in the Czech Republic, traveled in a crate, celebrated his first birthday on April 4 — and the Stanley-area community raised more than $80,000 in less than a year to acquire him.
Trey, a German shepherd police K9, is settling into his new life with his handler, Stanley police officer Tyler Lewien. Trey is undergoing some typical obedience training this summer, and the duo head to McDonough K9 in Anoka, Minn., in early September for 12 weeks of training.
Trey will be trained alongside Lewien in detecting drugs and apprehending people.
“I was very anxious to meet him,” Lewien said. “Instantly I just knew he was going to be… he was just so calm compared to the other ones.”
The community can expect Lewien and Trey to hit the streets in late 2018, with a goal of November, Stanley Police Chief Lance Weiland said.
But for now, Trey is adjusting to life at his new home with his new partner.
“He’s got great drive, level headed and social, good demeanor,” Lewien said. “We’re both pretty excited and anxious to get to the training.”
When selecting Trey, Weiland said the department was interested in a dog that was not only a skillful tool, but an animal that would also be social.
“So we were looking for a dog that’s family-friendly, somebody that we can use as a PR resource, But also, for lack of a better term, hard,” Weiland said. “(It’s) important to have that apprehension aspect. We’ve put in a lot of time and effort, and the community has put in a lot of backing… I feel like if it can do more, people are going to call upon us.”
Throughout the summer, the public may see Trey at community fairs, presentations and in parades — he’ll be the parade marshal for the Stanley Rodeo June 15-17 — as he prepares to leave for training. Trey made his first appearance at Thorp’s Dairy Days Parade in the beginning of June, after spending two weeks at home with his handler, as directed by experts.
Once he and Lewien return from Anoka, the duo will be available for drug searches in schools and the correctional facility in Stanley. They will also participate in missing-persons searches and apprehension calls. As a 24-hour department, Trey and Lewien are available to surrounding police departments for any assistance Trey’s skillful nose can assist with.
The partners will be cruising through Stanley in a K9 vehicle which the department purchased earlier this year with donation funds.
Lewien said he is also looking forward to training opportunities with other local handlers and has been working closely with the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office. Training is an integral part to keeping Trey alert and focused, especially on his calls, Weiland said.
“It you don’t use it you lose it,” Weiland said. “…It will be great to have those resources available.”
Chippewa County has seen a surge in police dogs, with the sheriff’s office and police in Bloomer, Stanley and Chippewa Falls all acquiring K9s within in the last year, adding some back-up to a growing load for Lake Hallie Police Department’s K9, Kita.
With the recent addition of Chippewa Fall’s Leo and Stanley’s Trey — both set for training this fall — Chippewa County’s push for K9 officers is reaching finality for now.
The Stanley Police Department has been working with the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office’s K9 handler, Deputy Jason Bloom and his K9, Max. The department will be attending the same training facility as Bloom and Max did, and Lewien has been taking tips from Bloom on what to expect.
The connections between departments with K9s and even to those that may rely on Trey and Lewien’s services — such as Thorp, Cadott or Boyd — is a part of the new position that Lewien is excited about.
“That’s what I look forward to most. It’s hard to understand what those relationships are going to be like,” Lewien said. “I look forward to just going over there to help their guys. If they get a car stopped and they need me… I really look forward to what doors are going to be open now.”
The Stanley Police Department is still accepting donations for its K9 program, Weiland said, and is looking to fund the unit through donations.
The department is continuing its cow-pie Bingo to support the program, and is looking to set up its own events, Weiland said.
For a chief who anticipated years of fundraising to get the K9 unit, the generous response has been “surreal.”
For Lewien, the experience has been unbelievable.
“This is so humbling. You never thought the city of Stanley Police Department would have a K9 program,” Lewien said. “This all happened really fast, for this to be a reality now… I’m carrying a chip on my shoulder. I look forward to putting everything in it… just showing appreciation where it’s due.”