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The police department’s K-9 handler has resigned – but a new K-9 officer and a new dog are training and should be ready to serve this month.

Officer Jeremy James resigned Friday. He had been placed on paid administrative leave in December, although city officials had said at the time he was not facing disciplinary action.

Officials also said at the time that Mattis, the department’s K-9, had been sent for additional training.

Police Chief Kelly Bakken announced this week that Officer Ethan Shaffer has been assigned as the department’s new K-9 handler, and that Shaffer and the department’s new K-9, Ilo, are in training.

“It is clear that the community wants and needs a canine program,” Bakken said in a press release. “Having an efficient, effective, competent and well-respected canine program is the mission of the police department. I am confident that Officer Shaffer is a good choice for the canine assignment. Officer Shaffer is dedicated to this department and to making Black River Falls a great community. “

Officials decided not to bring Mattis back to the department because of the challenge of working with a new handler.

“Because of a canine’s superior sense of smell, hearing and physical capabilities they are an asset in making the community safer environment for the citizens,” Bakken said. “Our canine is a valuable asset in fighting crime. I look forward to what Officer Shaffer and Ilo will do for the community. “


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