Update 4: On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Former Police Dog

There was a follow-up story in the Janesville Gazette about Edgerton’s former police dog, an animal that bit two people (one a police officer from another department, the other an office worker) before it was finally sent away. The cost of settling injuries to the police officer (apparently the lesser of the two injuries) was $39,000. That’s only a settlement cost: the injury to the officer and the community is greater, of course (lost time, lost community reputation, etc.).

The story notes that the canine was a washout as police dog, but that’s only part of the problem. Reading though earlier stories, there’s a human problem in all this: a chief’s desire for a dog that small-town Edgerton didn’t need, the obvious inability of the department to handle the dog properly (they’re not pets or toys, and they don’t belong in administrative offices), and the failure of police commissioners and others to reject a bad idea like this one in the first place.

That’s part of this story, too: when police commissioners go along with every dumb idea, supporting for the sake of supporting, and grinning along the way like so many Cheshire Cats, they fail other people and their community.

Help like that’s no help at all, but they can’t see that.

For more on this story, see prior posts (with links to news coverage): On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog, Update: On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog (Goodbye to the Biter), Update 2: On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog (Return to Service?), Update 3: On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog (Doggone and Dog Gone!), and Small-town Bureaucratic Persistence in Edgerton, Wisconsin.

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