Thoms adds to his versatility by being K-9 officer
Andy Thoms believes variety is the key to being a good law enforcement officer.
"I don't think I could be content with one thing," he said. "I believe it's beneficial to work in more than one different area because it keeps your skills up."
Starting Sunday, Jan. 1, Thoms will add another position to his experience when he becomes the Pierce County Sheriff's Department K-9 Officer.
"I'm excited about the chance to do something different," he said. "It's a more specialized field and you'll see different calls every day."
The 2000 Ellsworth High School graduate became interested in law enforcement when he participated in ride-alongs with Steve Albarado. After earning his degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College, he became full-time in 2003, starting in jail/dispatch. Two years later, he moved to patrol. Thoms is also a member of the Emergency Response Unit.
Thoms succeeds Herman Kreig, who was promoted to Patrol Sergeant earlier this year. At the same time Kreig was promoted, the current K-9, "Packer," became ill and was forced to retire.
Thoms said the new dog, a German Shepherd, will be available next month and he'll start training with him in the spring. He has and will continue to go to Kreig for advice.
"Herman deserves a fair amount of credit for raising the funds so we could get a new dog," he said. "He was also more than willing to get a new handler on board."
Thoms is ready for what the new job entails.
"I think the general public loves to see K-9," he said. "You do more than catch bad guys, it's about narcotics, gun search and missing persons along with public demonstrations."