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After a year of fundraising, a K-9 unit is being added to the Sturtevant Police Department.

The puppy is a seven and one half month old German Shepard named Rhea.

Right now, she’s living with and being trained by City of Racine police officer Steve Beale, who has been training dogs for over two decades. Beale told the board Rhea should be ready for duty by June.

The police department has fund-raised for the dog since the beginning of 2016, said officer Tonia Purtee, who will be the first officer certified for the K-9 unit.

The village has just under $20,000 for the dog, which was cobbled together with funds raised at concealed carry classes, a beer and wine tasting, a gun raffle and other small initiatives.

Chief Sean Marshke said Rhea will be an “excellent tool” for the department, adding, “Many K-9’s have saved law enforcement lives across the nation.”

Rhea can already hunt for and detect cocaine, heroin and meth, Beale said. But she still has a lot of training in front of her, and will begin formal handler classes with Purtee in March or April.

Recently, Rhea was brought to the Kenosha County jail where she conducted a sweep around the facility for narcotics, Beale said.

“I think the dog we put forward in our proposal will fit the bill for Sturtevant,” Beale said.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.