New members and K-9 unit join Leander Police Department

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Leander Police Department welcomed aboard its first police dog, Kodi, at Thursday’s badge-pinning ceremony at the city’s department headquarters.

His handler, Officer John Carnley, pinned a police badge on Kodi’s collar at the ceremony.

Before acquiring Kodi, the Leander Police Department relied on K-9 assistance from the Cedar Park Police Department and Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, according to a press release from the city.

A Belgian Malinois breed purchased from Poland, Kodi underwent an eight-week K-9 training course with Carnley at the Pacesetter K-9 training facility in Liberty Hill, according to the press release. The training included narcotic searches, tracking, handler protection and building searches, Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Hayes said at the ceremony.

Carnley, who previously served as a U.S. Marine, is a member of the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team, Hayes said. He has served with the Leander Police Department for over 10 years, according to a statement from the city of Leander.

The K-9 duo will be assigned to the city’s Traffic Enforcement Management unit, assisting patrol whenever necessary, Hayes said.

The city started an informal K-9 program in the 1990s when officers had to obtain their own dogs, Hayes said. “What we’re starting now, [however,] is a full council-supported program,” he said.

Two other new members, Chaplain Joe Bob Ellison and Crime Scene Specialist Haley Williams, also received badges and were officially recognized into the department at the ceremony.

“To wear this badge is to accept the responsibility and to affirm commitment not only to our department but [also to affirm]a very strong commitment to serve … the community,” Hayes said.

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Yue "Stella" Yu covers Lake Travis, Westlake, Leander and Cedar Park. She is a journalism student at University of Missouri. Prior to this summer, she was a city government reporter at Columbia Missourian. Three things she loves the most: jazz, dogs and community journalism. Feel free to reach out at 573-529-5725 or email her at yyu@communityimpact.com
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