December 6, 2022

Business, community donations help Columbia County fund new K-9

$5,000 from Didion helps department meet $40K funding goal
Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Stage, Captain Jason Kocovsky, Deputy Derek Jesko, and K9 Artus

Didion representatives: Derrick Clark, Mark Nehls, Riley Didion

PORTAGE, Wis. — The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office will be able to fund another K-9 team thanks to donations from the community, according to a news release.

Didion, a dry corn mill and ethanol-alcohol facility in Cambria, said Thursday it donated $5,000 to support the sheriff’s office efforts to add a fourth K-9 unit to their team. Didion said the donation helped push the sheriff’s office over its goal of $20,000, which also now allows for a $20,000 matching gift from an anonymous local business.

According to the release, the cost to purchase a police dog is about $40,000, which includes the training for the dog and handler, special equipment for the squad car, maintaining certifications and care for the dog.

Columbia County K-9 handler and Deputy Derek Jesko said the funding is critical for the department’s K-9 program, which relies on community donations. He said the department was “grateful and humbled” by the donations that helped them meet their goal.

“It’s overwhelming the amount of support we have gotten from our communities and businesses, like Didion,” Jesko said.

The sheriff’s office said it would have held a golf outing this year to raise ongoing funds to support the program but the outing was canceled because of the pandemic.

“We feel it’s part of our duty as an area business to support local law enforcement in their efforts to safeguard our neighborhoods. It benefits our employees and their families both where they live and work,” Riley Didion, president of Didion, said in a release.

Even though the department has reached its initial goal, there is a continued need to maintain the program with its ongoing expenses like continued training and veterinarian bills. Anyone interested in contributing can contact Lt. Cory Miller at 608-742-4166, extension 3305.

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