K-9 Unit

Lake Mary Police Department
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The Lake Mary Police Department’s K-9 Unit provides a number of valuable support services to the agency’s mission. K-9’s are regularly called upon to search for fleeing suspects, perform building searches and to help locate missing persons and property.         

Our dogs are also tasked with searching for narcotics, and are called upon to support several federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies when there is need. K-9's are, without a doubt, one of our finest crime fighting assets.

K-9 handlers know first hand that a highly trained police dog is one of the best partners a law enforcement officer can have. The dogs are selected and purchased either from local breeders or are imported. Of the puppies bred locally, only about 5% go on to be working police dogs. K-9’s imported from outside the U.S. come from vendors who guarantee they will be healthy and able to pass the basic police dog courses. Those not found suitable for any reason during training are rotated back to the vendor and replaced with new candidates. Often times the human half of a K-9 team will go through several K-9’s before an acceptable partner is found.

The Lake Mary Police Department currently owns two purebred German Shepherd full service Police K-9’s. In the Law Enforcement community, to be considered a full service working dog, the handler and their K-9 partner must complete a rigorous training program designed to identify & detect multipurpose narcotics, work in a patrol function, and successfully demonstrate techniques of search and apprehension abilities.  It is important to understand that all of these functions are valuable resources necessary to support this community in deterring crime and protecting the citizens of Lake Mary.



Most recently, the Lake Mary Police Department acquired its newest K-9, “Neso.”  K-9 Neso is a 2.5 year old German Shepherd that was imported to the United States from Czechoslovakia when he was only 15 months old.  K-9 Neso was paired with his current partner, PFC Lena DelGenio, and before you knew it they formed an unbreakable bond of trust.  Together, these two successfully completed the mandated canine basic training course consisting of 400+ hours, spanning 8-10 weeks that was conducted within the tri-county area.  Following the initial training course, they also successfully completed a 160+ hour canine basic narcotics detection training.


Upon completion of the training and in April of 2013, K-9 Neso received his state certification from FDLE, followed by certifications in narcotics detection from Central Florida K-9 in October of 2013, from the American Detection Canine Association, and a National Narcotics Detection through the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association Inc. (N.N.D.D.A) in November of 2013.

Now that K-9 Neso has attained certifications in all of his required training, he patrols the streets of Lake Mary with his partner PFC Lena DelGenio; and has proven time and time again that he is a valuable asset not only to the mission of the Lake Mary Police Department, but its community.




K-9 “Urs” is a six year old male German Shepard who came to the US from Germany in 2009.  He is trained as a patrol and narcotics detection canine.  Ofc. Douglas Wheeler and K-9 “Urs” became partners in the fall of 2013, and are Lake Mary Police Department’s newest K-9 team.  In the spring of 2014, both graduated from canine handler school consisting of over 600 hours of training in narcotics detection, tracking and apprehension work. 


The bond between handler and K-9 is built on trust and patience which requires a lot of energy and hard work.  This did not go unnoticed as Ofc. Wheeler and “Urs” were recognized by the instructors for their outstanding performance and chosen for the “Team Performance Award” among ten other teams within the Canine Handler School.  K-9 “Urs” and Ofc. Wheeler look forward to building on their initial training and are committed to working hard to fulfill the expectations that the Lake Mary Police Department and the community has for them as well.       

These dogs, and training for both the animal and his handler, can cost thousands of dollars. Basic training for the dogs exceeds 400 hours, lasting 8-10 weeks, and is conducted within the tri-county area. The dogs can be eliminated at any time during this period if they are found physically or emotionally unsuitable.

K-9 cars have been modified with state of the art equipment to ensure the safety of the dogs. Additionally, through generous donations from our citizens and businesses, the dogs wear bullet resistant vests when on duty.








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