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Madison PD’s newest crime dog is a ‘Bear’

MADISON — His coat is fur, not an overcoat like the legendary McGruff the Crime Dog wore.

But, nonetheless, the newest member of the Madison Police Department will help take a bite out of crime.

K9 Officer Bear is trained to detect and locate electronic devices and will aid investigators in cases involving crimes against children and other major crimes, MPD said in a news release.

(City of Madison contributed)

An anonymous donation paid for Bear’s acquisition, training and equipment. The donation and sponsorship of Bear was through the nonprofit O.U.R. (Operation Underground Railroad) Rescue, which supports law enforcement agencies in the fight against child exploitation and human trafficking.

Bear’s arrival could not come at a more crucial time as the department joins the fight along with Internet Crimes Against Children task force.

His nose can detect hidden electronics such as thumb drives, laptops and hard drives, tracking devices, and even micro SD and SIM cards. Certified by Jordan Detection K9, Bear also serves as a therapy dog, applying trauma-informed practices on the scene.  

“Many child exploitation criminals think they can beat the system with a good hiding spot for evidence,” said Police Chief Johnny Gandy. “We want them to know that Bear is a formidable weapon against their crimes. We are incredibly grateful to the anonymous donor for supporting Bear through his training.

“Our community is safer with his service.”  

K9 Officer Bear and Detective Ted Thiele. (City of Madison contributed)

Detective Ted Thiele serves as Bear’s handler. They work together, live together, and serve the community as a team. Unlike other working K9s on duty, Bear is trained to be approachable on the job.  

“Bear can bring down the bad guys, but also provide comfort to victims,” Thiele said. “His impact is invaluable to helping to protect and rescue our most vulnerable population.

“Bear’s skills are a critical tool to help us investigate and bring criminals to justice while also making a social-emotional impact on those around him.” 

Bear (and Thiele) will be visiting throughout the community on the canine’s inspirational work.

Belly rubs – for Bear – are welcome.

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