Chippewa Falls Police Department credit K9 in discovery of firearm during traffic stop

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 10:09 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Chippewa Falls Department credits the use of a police K9 in discovering a firearm during a traffic stop that happened weeks ago.

In a post to their Facebook page, police say two suspects were arrested after Leo, their K9 on duty, alerted to the vehicle after detecting drugs.

Police say that gave them probable cause to conduct the search.

“Our K-9 was working that night and came over and they were able to to do a check of the vehicle,” said Chief Matthew Kelm.

Leo has been trained from a young age to detect drugs, but Leo’s handler Sgt. Stephen McMahon says the K9 is also trained for another aspect of the job.

“The other aspect has been his apprehension portion, where the mere introduction of him onto a scene to discourage someone from fighting with law enforcement or escalating the situation,” said Sgt. McMahon/

To have Leo on the force Sgt. McMahon says the department invested more than $15,000. That money went toward training, certifications and even travel expenses for the sergeant to get Leo from New Mexico.

“That was actually an idea by Chief Kelm. He had always looked at wanting a K-9 here at the police department. He saw the benefits, and then he then requested that I do some research on it,” said Sgt. McMahon.

“We saw just how effective K-9 Kita in Lake Hallie was,” said Chief Kelm. He also adds that Leo is a part of a network of police dogs in the Chippewa County. “So there’s five canines in the in the county... they’re they’re spread out throughout all of Chippewa County.”

Sgt. McMahon says he was selected to be Leo’s handler through an application process. When Leo retires, there will be a new application process for the next handler if there is another K9 joining the force.

As for Leo, he will continue to live with his handler like he is currently doing right now. And Sgt. McMahon says while he has to keep Leo focused as a working police dog right now, when Leo retires McMahon says Leo will get the chance to be like any house pet.

Sgt. McMahon believes after Leo’s time in the force, it could be possible the department would invest in his replacement.

“I believe that our department would then implement a second dog... just because of the benefits that we’ve seen from the utilization of a canine,” said Sgt. McMahon.

“I’ll go to ask the city council. Okay, we’re ready. We want to we want to continue this,” said Chief Kelm.

Until then Leo will continue to serve the community.