Wisconsin News

There's a new top dog in town

LA CROSSE, Wis. - La Crosse Police Officer Casey Rossman faces an unusual decision on the job: Does he draw his gun or his tennis ball?

"When he sees that [tennis ball], that's his cue to start working," said Rossman.

Rossman and his drug-sniffing K9, Brutus, won first place on a United States Police Canine Association drug detector course over the weekend.

"The judges thought he was most accurate and did it in the best time," said Rossman.

It's a big accomplishment for a 5-year-old. Brutus and Rossman beat out 39 other K-9 units.

The German shepherd is trained to sniff out hidden marijuana, heroin, meth and cocaine.

Brutus and Rossman have been deployed to sniff out drugs 101 times this year, and they're responsible for 31 arrests.

"We work all night together. He sleeps next to me in his little doggy bed. He's there at my feet when I'm making dinner," said Rossman.


But there is one major job hazard -- shedding.

"I'm going to have to find a lint roller," said Rossman.

Brutus is one of two drug dogs in the La Crosse Police Department, which means only two of the three shifts every day get covered.

Thursday night, Police Chief Ron Tischer is putting in a request to the city's Finance and Personnel Committee to change that. He's asking to use up to $50,000 from the department's operating budget to buy a third drug K-9.

If his request is not approved by the council, the chief still plans to purchase a new K-9, but will likely have to rely on donations from the public to do it.

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