Green Bay police welcome 5 new K-9s

The Green Bay Police Department introducing its K-9 units to the public on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (WLUK image)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The Green Bay Police Department held a meet and greet with five of its newest K-9s Wednesday.

"We're really excited about this because this is the largest K-9 unit in Green Bay has been since its inception in 1986 when we got our first and only K-9 dog at that time," said Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.

With the new additions, the department's K-9 unit is at seven. Their names are Neo, Bose, Drago, George, Pyro, Puma and Rocco. George and Neo were already on the force before the other dogs were introduced.

"All of these dogs are dual purpose dogs meaning, not only are they doing narcotics but they also search for people... not only do they search for explosive devices but they also search for people," Smith said.

The officers, also called handlers, were chosen based on their dedication, professionalism, productivity, work ethic and community policing, according to Smith.

Last December, FOX 11 highlighted the police department's K-9 unit. At that time the department lost five K-9s in 18 months.

The department says at least one K-9 officer will be working every shift.

"There will be K-9 officers working around the clock," Smith said. "We are able to help out other areas in the county if they need a dog when they don't have any dogs available from their own agency."

When the dogs aren't on the clock, they'll live at home with their handlers which is an adjustment for some.

"Our home had to be dog-proofed. The yard had to be fenced in. There's a lot of things you don't think about. That and exercise, vet care," said Officer Joe Merrill.

The department says donations help pay for new K-9s.

Through the dogs' excitement and plenty of barking, Smith wanted to make one other thing clear.

"We have a message to anybody who’s thinking about bringing narcotics to the city of Green Bay, and that is, we double dog dare ya," he said.

Earlier this week, the department introduced five new officers during a swearing-in ceremony.