A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Combining a love of dogs, respect for police, Julius Marks students support Lexington Canine Unit


By Tammy L. Lane
Special to KyForward

Capitalizing on a love of dogs and respect for local police, three youngsters at Julius Marks Elementary put together a compelling STLP project and mustered schoolwide support to buy another bullet-resistant vest for Lexington’s Canine Unit.

“They’re getting new dogs in every month or so, and they constantly need new vests. When an elementary school raises money for a vest, they can keep one more dog safe,” said fourth-grader Chloe Miller.

Chloe, twin sister Zoey, and fifth-grader Noah Jones spearheaded the “K-9 Kevlar” project, which they presented in the STLP fall showcase (Student Technology Leadership Program).

A dog’s vest, which fits over the torso, is made of Kevlar – the same material that human officers wear under their uniforms. Lexington police currently have 12 dogs, including a black lab serving as a bomb dog and a chocolate lab as a drug dog (Photo Provided)

A dog’s vest, which fits over the torso, is made of Kevlar – the same material that human officers wear under their uniforms. Lexington police currently have 12 dogs, including a black lab serving as a bomb dog and a chocolate lab as a drug dog (Photo Provided)

“We’re all dog lovers, and we heard about a police dog injured because it didn’t have a ballistics vest, and we didn’t want that to happen anymore,” Zoey said, recalling an out-of-state news article.

The trio researched police dogs and protective gear, and used digital camcorders, iMovie, and Pinnacle Studio to create promo trailers for the JME-TV news. They also wrote to LFUCG officials asking permission to give designated funds, which was another learning experience. After selling candy-cane bookmarks, small stuffed animals, lanyards, and other $1 to $3 knickknacks for several weeks, the STLP group presented $1,300 to police officers at a school assembly on Friday the 13th.

“We were really happy about it because we got to help our community and the police and police dogs who keep us safe,” Noah said afterward.

A dog’s vest, which fits over the torso, is made of Kevlar – the same material that human officers wear under their uniforms. Lexington police currently have 12 dogs, including a black lab serving as a bomb dog and a chocolate lab as a drug dog. The others – highly trained German shepherds – wear the vests when on patrol. The school’s donation will cover a ninth vest.

“They have an expiration date (of five to seven years) because the material breaks down over time, so anytime we have an opportunity to replace these, it’s a great day,” said Sgt. Dave Sadler of the Canine Unit.

“This is such a big deal for us,” he added. “It shows the support we’ve got, and we absolutely appreciate it. It’s comforting to know our local community, especially school kids, support the police officers and our canines.”

Did you know?

In the coming weeks, Zoey, Chloe, and Noah will tweak their K-9 Kevlar presentation, polish footage of their sales efforts, and finish a thank-you video to schoolmates as they prepare for STLP statewide competition on April 12. Three other projects from Julius Marks also advanced, including another service showcase, a technical project, and an instructional entry.

Tammy L. Lane is website editor for Fayette Public Schools


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