HAGER CITY -- When Herman Kreig became the Pierce County Sheriff's Department K-9 Officer in 2004, he had a list of things he wanted done to enhance the department.
Near the top of the list was a training facility for "Packer," the department's K-9, in Pierce County because, in the past, K-9 officers would have to leave the county to train.
That vision became reality last week as Pierce County, along with other K-9 officers from around the area, helped commission the Pierce County Sheriff's Department K-9 training facility behind the Border Lounge in Hager City.
The facility, also known as "Packer's Playground" in honor of the Belgian Malinois, tests K-9s in such areas as obedience, proficiency and agility.
"All the drills are regulated to USPCA (United States Police Canine Association) standards," Kreig said. The facility started last year, when Kreig sent out letters to area businesses asking for their help. With donations from about 30-35 businesses, Kreig then spent his free time building the equipment, which was all green-treated.
Now, all he needed was the land.
Kreig approached Bill Green, president of the Ellsworth Baseball Association, about the land behind the baseball field where the Hager City Skeeters will begin play this spring.
"He stated he acquired obstacles for the dog training and had achieved some difficulty in getting some land," Green explained. "The baseball association was more than happy in providing the land."
And on its first day, besides Pierce County, K-9 officers from the City of Rochester, Wabasha County, Olmsted County, Goodhue County, Red Wing Police and Winona County, all in Minnesota, were on hand for their K-9s to get some training as well.
"It's all about keeping sharp and staying on top," Kreig said.
For more please read the April 30 print version of the Herald.