For years, the Leander Police Department relied on nearby agencies for K-9 assistance, like Cedar Park. But now, they have their own. “We did have a K-9 program in the mid 90's it was an informal program. It had little or no financial support, no formal funding from the city, officers got the training on their own,” said Asst. Chief Jeff Hayes.
Their first dog in the unit, they held a badge pinning for on Thursday. His name is Officer Kodi. The Belgian Malinois is just over a year old, and has trained for two months with Officer John Carnley.
“He's a dual purpose dog. He's trained in tracking and criminal apprehension. He's trained in the odor of narcotic detection. So we will be able to do sniffs around vehicles and potentially find narcotics,” said Ofc. John Carnley. The program took about $180,000 in funding to start up.
“What's nice about this program is it finally gives us a little more independence and flexibility,” said Hayes.
Carnley says he had opportunities to try for promotions in other areas, but he waited for this one job. “This is what I wanted to do. I mean, sitting behind a desk, being promoted, proofing reports really isn't my thing. I like being out boots on the ground,” said Carnley.
The assistant chief says not only is the working relationship for these two important, but also their friendship. “He takes the dog home, the dog is in his home with his family. He cares for that dog,” said Hayes. Leander PD says this is only the beginning and they hope to add more K-9 officers as the city continues to grow.