Almost ready to roll: K-9 team expected to hit the street

Before this spring, Austin Summers didn’t know any French.

But the Eau Claire police officer had to learn about a dozen commands in the foreign language, so he could work with his new partner.

Summers and Manso, a 2-year-old Belgian malinois, were partnered in May, and for about the first month, Summers kept a notebook with the quick, one-word commands written in it with him.

Handler and dog strengthened their bond this fall while attending training — and sharing a hotel room — for six weeks in New Mexico, and they are expected to be deployable as a K-9 team later this month.

The Eau Claire Police Department added its first K-9 team more than two decades ago. Manso, the department’s seventh dog, joins Duke, a Belgian malinois, and Jake, a German shepherd; although, Duke will retire at the end of the year.

“The success of our K-9 program is dependent on community support,” said Bridget Coit, the Eau Claire Police Department’s public information officer. Read More