The K-9 Unit’s primary responsibility is to support the Patrol Division. The unit is comprised of one sergeant and five dog handlers. Four dogs and their handlers are designated to narcotic searches, with the remaining dog and handler designated to explosive searches. K-9 also responds to the need for assistance from both the SWAT Team and Vice Unit for searches of vehicles, structures and the tracking of persons.
Narcotics dogs and handlers are primarily scheduled to work evening and late night shifts to assist the patrol division with calls in progress that have the potential for violence, have a need for tracking persons or apprehending suspects that flee. Deputies may request K-9 assistance on traffic stops when there is a need for searches for suspected narcotics and felony take downs. The K-9 Unit is frequently requested to conduct searches for the detection of narcotics at the Federal Bureau of Corrections in Bastrop, as well as at schools throughout Travis County. In 2011, the unit’s narcotics dogs and handlers logged well over 140 narcotic searches and over 40 searches for persons.
The unit’s explosive dog and handler conduct daily searches of the district and county courtrooms and searches prior to and during election events. This team is also used in orientating both Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers and educators prior to the beginning of each school year on the procedures for bomb threats. In 2011, they conducted over 40 explosive searches and approximately nine persons searches.