MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers and Summerfest officials teamed up to equip MPD with two new K-9 officers -- appropriately named "Brewer" and "Rocker."
A news conference was held Thursday morning, April 5, announcing the partnership -- which also involves the MPD K-9 Foundation. $125,000 was raised for the two new bomb-sniffing dogs from Hungary. They get a lot of their commands in Dutch, a language the handlers said is easy to learn.
MPD currently has several K-9 units, but according to a news release, "with the ever-changing needs of the city and potential increase in calls this summer, an addition of two K-9 officers will reduce the demand on the unit."
"We've come together to collaborate in creating a partnership that's foremost about safety, efficiency and having a vision toward the future, which we are really excited about. We'll deploy these K-9s at multiple events throughout the year for our spectators," said Peter Feigin, Milwaukee Bucks' president.
"Our mantra at the Brewers is to acquire, develop and retain young, controllable talent, and that goes not only for baseball players, but for K-9s," said Rick Schlessinger, Brewers' COO.
Schlessinger said the Brewers' dog would, of course, be named "Brewer." Schlessinger described Brewer as the youngest and most rambunctious of the pack, and said he loves to work -- working hard and playing hard and making sure to find the time to have fun as well.
"MPD does a great job providing security and safety at Miller Park. These detection dogs will be a great asset to the city and obviously make sure every venue is safe, and the fans can worry about what the team's doing on the court or on the field -- and not worry about their safety. That is our highest priority," said Schlessinger.
"Whether you're at a basketball game or a baseball game or a football game or a world-class concert, safety for fans, employees, vendors and spectators is the number one priority. There is nothing more important than the safety of your fans and all those who support the particular event at the time," said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Summerfest.
Smiley said the Summerfest K-9 would be named "Rocker." He said Rocker would be at Summerfest 2018 this summer -- "rocking along with everyone else."
"We're very grateful for this partnership. We've had long-term relationships with the Bucks, Brewers, Summerfest and the K-9 Foundation who supports us so graciously. We're coming together because we all like to see our residents enjoy the festivities and events in this city -- and this will assist us in doing that. This will enhance our K-9 unit's abilities, obviously, and increase safety in the city," said Michael Brunson, MPD inspector.
The groups said the goal is to have up to a dozen bomb-sniffing dogs working between their venues within the next two years.
CLICK HERE to donate to the MPD K-9 program via the Milwaukee Police Department K-9 Foundation.