Racine County Sheriff's Office welcomes newest K-9 member

CREATED Jul 1, 2014

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RACINE - A rookie with the Racine County Sheriff's Office is busting bad guys and finding illegal drugs. His name is Nitro and he's the newest member of the K-9 Team.

Deputy Troy Ruffalo couldn't ask for a better partner even though Nitro is only a rookie.
"He's only 21-months old," said Deputy Ruffalo. "You can tell he's got a lot of puppy in him yet."
The two have been a team since November. The dog is skilled at finding illegal drugs like heroin and he's trained for what's called hard surface tracking.
"He is able to take the odor of a suspect, something left behind in the area and track that specific scent." said Ruffalo.
That skill helped police find a suspected bank robber on the run last month. Nitro and Deputy Ruffalo also had a big drug bust in March. 
"Those drugs would not have been found had it not been for the use of the K-9's." said Racine Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.
Nitro is named after one of the American Gladiators TV stars. 
He's the fourth K-9 added to the department's crime fighting roster thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Racine Kiwanis Foundation.  
"There are success stories after success stories with these K-9's." said Schmaling.
In fact the Sheriff says all four K-9's with the department were purchased and trained with donated dollars. He says having four dogs on the force now allows him to have a K-9 unit for every shift, 24-7.