It's 7pm on a Wednesday night, and K9 Officer Emily House is driving into work with her Malinois-Shepherd partner, Archie. They are 1 of 8 MPD canine teams, and the officer and dog train together, work together, and live together. Emily laughs wryly when asked about the duo's first success in the field, after being paired in 2019. "It was day three solo" together, she recalls. A woman had been stabbed by her boyfriend, and K9 Archie, Emily, and a team of officers tracked the suspect from the scene of the stabbing to the suspect's address, over a mile away. The track traversed a busy strip mall parking lot, city sidewalks and a multitude of streets – all of which dilute the single human scent Archie was tracking. But Archie stayed the course, and led officers to exactly where the stabbing suspect fled.
Officer House was a mentoring coordinator for children of incarcerated parents in Milwaukee, prior to applying and being accepted into the 2007 MPD Police Academy. She worked as a patrol officer, eventually field training new hires in addition to her own patrol duties, and served within MPD's gang unit. Emily competed for and earned a position with the K9 unit, a cadre of 8 handlers in an agency of over 500 sworn personnel. The commitment required is high-level: Emily went to Michigan with Archie for six weeks of initial, specialized training. She vividly recalls the challenge of switching "from hard training to mom mode, and back again."
Officer House was recognized as Rookie of the Year by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Canine Handlers Association in October 2019, a significant honor for her and then not-yet-2-year-old Archie. Emily candidly acknowledges the work can be taxing, but speaks also to the rewards: "To see and know where I started to where I am now? Endless possibilities."