While not an alumna (that we’re aware of), University of Wisconsin Police Department (UWPD) Officer Casey has been keeping the campus safe for more than 50 years — dog years, that is. K9 Casey and Sergeant Cherise Caradine are the UWPD’s first and only narcotics detection team. They started working together nine (human) years ago, and Casey has since recovered countless pounds of illegal substances, weapons, and dirty money. But under that caramel-colored, constantly shedding coat of fur is a big heart.
Narcotics detection is pretty serious stuff. Do you ever get scared?
Every time Mom gets a call for me to go sniff a car, it’s a little scary. You don’t know who or what is in that car, and they’re usually not happy to see me.
Do you have fun at your job, or does it feel like work?
To me, finding bad stuff is like finding a rabbit in a hole. When I find something, I sniff it out, then sit and stare at exactly where it is, waiting for the rabbit to pop out. Then my squeaky toy always just drops out of the sky! But that’s my only goal in life: to earn my toy.
And you’re bilingual, right?
Mostly I get hand signs, but I also get verbal commands in Dutch because it’s not a common language. Mom doesn’t want anyone to know what she’s telling me to do. Not like I’d listen to anyone else … My friends at work understand Czechoslovakian.
There are two other UWPD K9 officers. Do you all get along?
I’m the senior dog, so I’m kind of in charge. My best friend was K9 Officer Moseley, but he’s no longer with us. He and I used to have a lot of fun picking on K9 Officer Rex, who passed away this spring. I could always hear Rex leaving work, so I’d hide behind my door and jump out at him when he walked past my office. I’d scare the daylights out of him every time!
Do you have a hard time transitioning between work and play?
Nope. I know that once we pass a certain stoplight on Stoughton Road, I’m going home. I start to run circles in the back of my car, and then I put my head on Mom’s shoulder. I also know when it’s time to go back to work: as soon as my collar goes on. And when I see Mom’s uniform, weapon, and badge, I have to tell my friends that it’s not playtime anymore.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re off the clock?
I like playing with my human siblings. I have a two-year-old brother and a six-year-old sister. We all like to wrestle, and I let my brother poke my nose and pull my ears. But even at home, I like to protect my neighborhood. I know who all of our neighbors are — Charlene, Trish, Angie — and what cars they drive. If someone pulls into the cul de sac I don’t recognize, I have to let everyone know. Loudly.
What’s the best part about working with your mom, Sergeant Caradine?
I like that I always have a partner. I can always tell when Mom is happy, mad, or sad, and I can make her feel better. I’m a really good listener. And we always have each other’s backs — literally sometimes. If somebody went after her and was going to hurt her, I would put my life in front of hers to protect her. But, she says she doesn’t like that she has to pick up after me. She wishes I could use a toilet like all the other officers.