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Donation from thankful business kickstarts fundraising for Middleton K9

MIDDLETON (WKOW) — A thankful community continues to direct their gratitude to the Middleton Police Department, nearly a month after their efforts intervening during a workplace shooting at WTS Paradigm.

On Wednesday, that gratitude came in the form of $25-thousand check from Sentry insurance. The company is in the same building complex as WTS Paradigm and many employees were just floors away during the shooting.

According to Sentry Vice President Pete Anhalt, who is based in Middleton, the company is still recovering from the experience.

“Although we were not as directly affected as WTS Paradigm, our associates experienced things that no one wants to and no one should experience,” he said. “Day by day, hour by hour, meeting by meeting, we’re trying to get back to some sense of normalcy.”

As they look to heal, Anhalt said they looked for a way to thank the people who kept them safe. When they learned the department was starting a fundraising campaign for their first K9 officer, the company wanted to lend a hand.

“Please accept our heartfelt thanks for you and all your officers for what you did on September 19th and what you do everyday,” he said.

It’s a big head start in the department’s efforts to raise $150-thousand to begin the program. Officer Howard Statz will be the handler, something he’s been hoping to do since he joined three years ago.

“I woke up 4:45 in the afternoon to an email that this size donation was coming in and I was shocked,” he said.

Statz said the K9 will be used primarily for community outreach as well as narcotics and search and rescue missions. He said many of the funds to start the program are one-time expenses such as a car, equipment and training. Still, with a $150-thousand price tag, the department decided crowdfunding would be their best option.

“Our department already has all these resources allocated so we didn’t want to be selfish and pull away and possibly hinder from what patrol is already doing,” Statz said.

Statz said fundraising efforts have only begun but once they raise the money, he’ll start putting the program together.

“We’re really waiting on these donations coming in so a donation like this is just outstanding,” he said.

Statz said March earliest Middleton can expect a K9 officer joining the ranks.

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Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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