Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- Officer Matt McCoy and his dog charlie make up the k-9 unit for the Altoona police department. Officer McCoy got charlie over a year ago solely with the help of donations from the community. Now, Charlie needs your help again.
Charlie's training took several months including four weeks for narcotics location. "It's a lot of tedious work to begin with to get the dog to recognize the different odors of the drugs," says McCoy.
He says training with Charlie is always ongoing and the program is vital to keep him at his best. "The longer the dog is in service the longer you're working with that dog...the better you become. The more efficient you are as a team," explains McCoy.
But when he's at home with the McCoy family he is like any other playful dog. "He knows when we go to work that it's work time, and he kinda keys up to when the uniform is on and starting getting the car ready he knows its time to go to work."
The K-9 units are put in some of the most dangerous situations and respond to calls throughout the Chippewa Valley.
"He's close to 100 pounds but he hits like he's about 500 pounds because he hits with all his power not just his jaws," describes Jason Knecht with the Altoona Fire Department. He helps with training Charlie, and says he's a tool that police and the SWAT team can use to keep officers safe. "A lot of times when they deploy the dog..just to hear the dog bark or to hear there's a dog present and they will send them in to bite you. Just that alone a lot of times will make the bad guy give up," says Knecht.
This is an uncomfortable position for any prisoner, but for charlie it's not good for him because of the cramped quarters. "At some point it's going to start causing health issues or back and hip issues where it could greatly shorten his service career," says McCoy.
That's why Officer McCoy and Charlie need your help and are taking donations along with a donation from Eau Claire ford towards the purchase of an SUV for the K-9 unit. "Right now we're just looking for their support to try and keep the program going and make sure he's able to work his full career without any health issues," says McCoy.
Officer McCoy says they need to raise around $15,000 in addition to what Eau Claire Ford is putting towards the SUV. To help out Charlie you can send or drop off donations to the Altoona Police Department K-9 fund at the address below.
Altoona Police Department K-9 Unit Fund
Care of Officer McCoy
1904 Spooner Ave.
Altoona, WI 54720