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Thoms adds to his versatility by being K-9 officer

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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."

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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."

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Jason Schulte
Jason Schulte has been with the Herald since 2006. He covers County government and anything else that happens in Pierce County on a daily basis.
(715) 273-4334
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