The Menominee Police Department is finally moving forward to establish a K-9 program. The establishment of a K-9 unit has been a topic of discussion for decades in the department, but the funds to get it started were never available. Other issues derailed progress.

Thanks to Patty and Burt Schuring, the program was jump-started recently with their donation of $25,000. The Menominee City Council approved the language in a gift agreement between the parties.

The council originally authorized the police chief to seek funding for the program last May in cooperation with the M&M Area Community Foundation, but technical details were ironed out to allow the police chief to move forward with the development of a K-9 program. The pledge of funds from the Schurings was the bite that pushed the project forward rather than see it collapse one more time with idle talk.

The Schurings experienced a home invasion by thugs looking for drugs. The drug experience seems to be all too common in the Menominee area in recent years. Like other folks in the area, the Schurings witnessed drug deals taking place in their neighborhood. When local police needed a K-9 dog to help with the investigations they had to reach out to Escanaba law enforcement for a K-9 dog.

“With the drug problems in this town, we need it,” Patty Schuring was quoted in a Page One EagleHerald story Nov. 19.

Michigan and Illinois ushered in new laws that allows the sale of recreational marijuana. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors in both states believe the laws will lead to additional drug-related problems. Marijuana users in neighboring states of Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana will be among the customers flocking to Michigan and Illinois.

The Menominee Police Department long has needed the services of a K-9 program. The Menominee County Sheriff’s Department has such a service. So does the Marinette Police Department and the Marinette County Sheriff’s Department. All of the K-9 units in our area have been busy. The new marijuana laws in Michigan and Illinois are expected to increase investigations, according to law enforcement.

The Menominee County Prosecuting Attorney’s office recently beefed up its staff to handle the heavy caseloads in the county. Local police will now have one more tool to help them fight the drug war on the Michigan-Wisconsin border.

Thumbs up to Patty and Burt Schuring for getting the ball rolling to organize a K-9 unit in the City of Menominee.