City sets new parameters on police K-9 handler commitment


By Dave Fidlin


As the Whitewater Police Department looks to add another four-footed member to its force, city officials have placed new parameters around his or her handler.

Three years ago, WPD ventured into new territory when it brought on Boomer, a specially trained Black Labrador. Boomer officially marked the start of WPD’s K-9 unit.

Officer Joe Matteson had served as Boomer’s handler, but when he left the force for another law enforcement opportunity outside the city, officials let Matteson keep Boomer with the caveat he pay $3,500.
After meeting behind closed doors, the Common Council on May 2 voted to put in place a new requirement for the handler of the new dog serving on the K-9 unit. The designee will be required to commit to the handling responsibilities for at least five years.

Early this year, Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher recommended Boomer depart the city and stay in Matteson’s care because of the close bond dogs typically have with their human counterparts.

“There was no guarantee Boomer would be effective with another one of our officers,” Otterbacher said at a February council meeting.

In other recent business, the council approved, on a second and final reading, an ordinance amendment that solidifies winter parking restrictions on all municipal streets. Winter parking restrictions will be enforced from 2 to 5 a.m., between Nov. 1 and March 31.

The city has long had winter parking restrictions, but there had been confusion about the restrictions because some signs differed from others.

It also approved contracts with two firms — Fero’s Auto and Towing and Mill’s Automotive — for municipal towing services through the end of 2018. The companies will provide services to the city on an as-needed basis.

The council also added several items to the running tab of specific projects taking place at the wastewater utility facility, which is undergoing an extensive renovation.

An additional $40,370 worth of items were added to the cost. Early on, the city had built in a contingency fund to accommodate unknowns. Its balance remains at more than $1 million.


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