Police dogs get bulletproof vests

Three Franklin police dogs will now be wearing bulletproof vests, just like their human counterparts, due to the work of a Franklin elementary student.

Fourth-grader Richie Scott had to complete a community service project to earn his black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He choose to raise money to buy one vest for the Franklin police dogs, but his project quickly grew.

“I wanted to protect the ones who protect us,” said Scott, a student at Creekside Elementary School. Franklin’s police dogs are trained to detect drugs, follow the trail of a suspect or force a suspect into submission.

Scott, who trains in Tae Kwon Do four times each week at Pilsung ATA Martial Arts in Greenwood, started a page on the fundraising website GoFundMe and set out collection cans, put on bake sales and hosted a silent auction to raise money.

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He started his project in December and ended up raising $2,100, which was enough to buy three vests. He has no ties to the police departments or the canines, but simply likes the dogs, he said.

The vests were given to Officer Jeff Dawe’s dog, Pepper, officer Tim Coy’s dog, Thor, and officer Russell Crouse’s dog, Stinger, at a Franklin City Council meeting this week. Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan and Mayor Steve Barnett thanked Scott for his work, noting that his project would keep the dogs safe.