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Public Safety firsts: Sgt. Lakia Hoke

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is proud to count among its employees so many “firsts.” In this series we spotlight some of our high achievers who have attained the status of “first” in their field.

TOWSON, MD –  In about seven years, Sgt. Lakia Hoke has risen through the ranks of Public Safety to join our elite K9 team, working with her partner, Topo, to help keep our facilities safe.

Hoke’s career with Public Safety began in 2009 at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic, and Classification Center (MRDCC) in Baltimore City. She worked as an adjustment officer while training and earning certification as a TAC (Tactical) Team member, a field training officer, and an instructor.

She’s also been enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves for 18 years.

Hoke saw K9 officers during her tenure at MRDCC. “I wanted to join K9 after witnessing them in action at my facility and noting the appearance, professionalism, and integrity of the members as they performed their duties,” she wrote about her experience.

Four years after joining MRDCC, Hoke was selected to enroll in the Public Safety K9 Academy. She and her canine partner, Gage, were certified as a drug-prevention and interdiction team. Hoke had reached her goal – but she wasn’t finished.

In October of 2016, Hoke decided to enroll in the five-month, multi-jurisdictional Patrol Dog Academy where she earned certification with another dog – Topo – as a patrol dog handler.

Both dogs go to and from work with her every duty day and live with her at home seven days a week.

When speaking about her accomplishments, Hoke is sure to give credit to others, “Throughout my career I have been able to accomplish my goals with the help and assistance of the great leadership I have been blessed with serving under,” she said.

Hoke is the first African-American woman to join Public Safety’s K9 Patrol team and, despite her impressive accomplishments, she’s not finished yet.

“I look forward to advancing in my projected law enforcement career path,” she said, “And continuing my law enforcement education to better serve the people of the State of Maryland.”