GREEN BAY, Wis. (WKOW) – The Green Bay Police Department is still struggling with the loss of one of its K9 officers, but one little boy is helping the department heal.
Four-year-old Cops died earlier this month after battling serious medical issues. When 7-year-old Ethan Engum heard about the dog’s death, he decided to raise money to help the department pay for a new K9.
Ethan started a GoFundMe to raise the money. On Sunday, he delivered a $520 check to Green Bay Police Officer Derek Wicklund and also got to play with another Green Bay Police K9 named George.
“When he decided to do this, it was a pleasant surprise given the difficult time our unit’s facing right now with the death of Cops,” Wicklund said. “It’s nice when we get to do things like this with Ethan and his family. It kind of rejuvenates you a little bit and makes you want to come to work again and see the good in people, not just the bad.”
Losing K9 Cops was especially hard for the department because he was the youngest of its six K9’s. Cops’ handler, Officer Fred Laitinen, is still grieving the loss of his partner. He said a strong bond developed between him and the dog.
“My life and career has been changed with the loss of Cops,” Officer Laitinen said in a letter to Action 2 News. “His toys sit on the floor at home. His kennel sits empty. His bowls are on the counter, and when I look in the rearview mirror in the squad, he is no longer looking back at me.”
Officer Wicklund said the department is gaining strength through Ethan’s generosity. Now, Ethan says he wants to become a K9 handler to help fight the bad guys.
“You can see his passion and his enthusiasm, and I think it was contagious,” Officer Wicklund said. “You know, I got roughly 14 years left, and in 14 years, he’ll be 21. Maybe he’ll be starting when I’m finishing. We can work together for a few years or a month or so before I call it quits.”
Ethan’s goal is to raise $12,000 for the Green Bay Police Department’s K9 program. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/29mj5wcc.