Meeting one of New Berlin's 4-legged officers
Our April 13 meeting took on a furry angle as New Berlin K9 Officer JJ Ament brought Condor in for an introduction and presentation.
A purebred German shepherd, Condor has been partnered with Ament the entire three years he has been with the department. Now 4-1/2 years old, the dog is involved in both patrol work and drug searches. Condor is trained in all major narcotics and their derivatives, Ament says.
Condor's highly trained nose serves well in tracking. If a suspect touches a surface, Ament swabs that and lets Condor get a whiff. Condor is able to track over hard surfaces, which is unusual for dogs, Ament says. Wet grass holds scents particularly well, aiding in searches. Condor can track a scent 24 hours old, and could be used in cadaver recovery. When confronting a person, Condor is trained to grab and hold the subject.
Condor is used in about a dozen searches monthly, Ament says. Due to mutual aid agreements, some of those searches are at the request of nearby departments. Waukesha, for example, has called for help in finding homicide and armed-robbery suspects.
Throughout Wednesday's presentation, the "very excitable" Condor couldn't wait for his turn. Ament had placed several boxes on the floor, one of which contained a trace of narcotics. Immediately upon release, Condor made a beeline for the correct box. Later, he quickly "lighted" on the room's fire extinguisher. Ament had placed a trace of narcotic on the bottom. When lead nearby, Condor jumped up and started scratching the extinguisher (no harm done).
This scratching, done only at the location of the drugs, is sufficient to justify a search, Ament says. However, he has worked with Condor long enough to recognize other traits that indicate the dog is onto something.
Condor and New Berlin's other K9, Askan, regularly undergo follow-up training, Ament says. Included are two 8-hour days each month. The morning is typically spent involved in drug work, with the afternoon devoted to patrol duties (building searches, tracking, handler protection and such). The dogs may see additional training as time and opportunities permit, Ament says.
During this meeting we had the pleasure of presenting a check for $1,000 to the Police Department for its Midnight Volleyball program. Officer Tony Fus accepts the check from club president Shawn Schnabl. Accompanying him is Sgt. Dan Hanlon.
This is the 6th consecutive year that Rotary Club of New Berlin has contributed to the Midnight Volleyball program. Total donations now exceed $6,000. Midnight Volleyball (which actually runs from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.) is held Monday evenings at Malone Park throughout the summer. The games offer area high school kids a safe and healthy evening of activity.
Talking up Rotary at the Community Fair
We were proud to once again participate in New Berlin's Community Expo and Job Fair. This year's event, the third annual, was held at New Berlin West Middle / High School.
In this image, Rotarians Dianne Moore, club president Shawn Schnabl and Rotarian Tom Fuszard greet expo attendees.
Our club also hosted a candidate forum that day. Candidates for school board and 5th District Alderman participated in the forum, which was held in West's library. Rotarians Dianne Moore and Scott Klaas moderated.
We had the pleasure of meeting Miss New Berlin, Ashley Rewolinski. Rotarian Art Angove joined Shawn and Tom for an image with the city's official ambassador. A renowned violinist, Ashley has won numerous awards and has appeared with Milwaukee's Contemporary Music Ensemble and other chambers. Other honors include an appearance on E! Network's reality show Giuliana and Bill.
Crowned on Feb. 27, Ashley says she is excited to promote her platform, Music Matters. Good luck, Ashley!
The Expo gets off to a good start with a ribbon cutting. Doing the honors here is Cheryl Schober, New Berlin's 2016 Civic Person of the Year. Assisting were (from left) Ed Holpfer, Executive Director of the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Dave Ament; Schober; Rewolinksi; Ald. Chuck Garrigues; and Gary Szpara, president of the Chamber of Commerce.