Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Sheriff's Office


March 08, 2010
Contact: Sgt. Matt Alsaker Phone: (608) 284-6155 FAX: (608) 284-6043
Sheriff's Office

Madison, WI – At approximately 6:52 p.m. the Dane County Communications Center received a Phase 2 911 cell phone call from a 63 year old DeForest man who was ice fishing on Upper Mud Lake near McFarland. The caller had lost his bearings as darkness and heavy fog settled into the area. The caller was able to get off the ice and back to shore, but was not able to find his way out of the marsh. The McFarland Police Department was dispatch to the area to locate the caller.

Last fall Dane County K9 Inc (, the not-for-profit organization of volunteers that helps provide funding for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, received a generous financial gift from the George Bailey Foundation through the Maher Family (Middleton, WI). The gift allowed for the purchase of high quality hand held GPS units to be used by the canine teams during rural tracking and large area searches. Tonight the GPS units would be used to help locate the lost ice fisherman.

A Phase 2 911 cell phone call provides the Communications Center with the incoming phone number, cell phone provider information, and GPS coordinates to where the call originated from. Deputy Brian Biwer and K9 Utrix responded to assist the McFarland Police Department. Biwer entered the coordinates given to him by dispatch into his hand held GPS unit. Biwer and the McFarland Police Officers walked from Terminal Drive about 1/2 mile west to the shore of Upper Mud Lake. They then moved south along the shore through a marshy area. They located the lost fisherman about 1/2 mile later. They then followed the GPS track back out of the marsh. The GPS units allowed for a safe and efficient resolution to this incident.

Dane County K9 Inc. (DCK9) has developed many partnerships within the community and provided significant financial support to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit. In the last two years DCK9 has funded the replacement of four canines, paid for advanced training, and purchased specialized equipment to help make the K9 Unit successful. In the last three years the K9 Unit has seen their call volume increase 49%.