The Lakeway Police Department K-9 Program was established in 2013 with the addition of K-9 "Orka", who was donated to the department by the Austin Police Department. From that point, the program was expanded with the addition of K-9 "Cory" who was purchased and trained with the financial assistance of the Lakeway Police Foundation. Both K-9s and their respective handlers were trained and certified by the National Narcotics Detector Dog Association in the detection of various narcotics including, but not limited to: cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin. The K-9s also received basic training in tracking, which provided LPD with the ability to track/search for fleeing fugitives and missing persons.
Since, "Orka" and "Cory" have retired after long and successful law enforcement tenures. A new addition to the Police Department was recently made with the donation of K-9 "Rino". Lakeway citizen and recent citizens police academy graduate, Melanie DeMayo, made a very generous financial donation to the Lakeway Police Foundation for the sole purpose of acquiring a new police dog.
“Rino” completed a 5-6 weeks training and has now become a certified narcotics detecting K9. K-9 "Rino" is assigned to Patrol Officer Eric Sooter who, in addition to normal patrol functions, is responsible for seeking out those who are in possession of illicit narcotics and/or drug paraphernalia in Lakeway. K-9 "Rino" and his handler are also tasked with public appearances at local schools and other community events in the Lake Travis area. Officer Sooter was also recognized as Lakeway Police Department's Employee of the Year in 2020.