A local high school student has selected a senior project to help a local officer. K9 Officer Macy of the Elkins Police Department will receive a bullet-proof vest because of the efforts of Brandon Simmons, an Elkins High School senior.
"I chose this project as part of my experience at the West Virginia State Police Junior Troopers Program," Simmons said. "They had a dog named Officer Zoe that was killed in the line of duty in March 2011. She was killed when they were trying to apprehend a victim with a gun, and Zoe jumped in front of her human partner, taking the bullet."
Simmons' mother, Angie Pritt, said her son had always wanted to be in law enforcement.
Elkins High School senior Brandon Simmons is helping local K9 Officer, Macy, by raising funds to purchase a bullet-proof vest for her. Simmons is using the experience as his senior project requirement for graduation. (Submitted photo)
"Brandon always entertained the thoughts of being a police officer," Pritt said. "He changed his mind when Cpl. Andrew Loudin was shot. Brandon also chose this project because he has always loved animals. He would have a zoo if we would let him.
Simmons said he contacted K9 Officer Macy's partner and handler Sgt. C.D. Cross of the Elkins City Police. He said Cross selected the vest for Officer Macy.
"The vest will cost $849.99," Simmons said. "The place we are ordering it from gave me a discount of $150 when they learned about my project to provide the vest."
Sgt. C.D. Cross said he was pleased with Simmons' project to provide protection for Officer Macy.
"This is just fantastic," Cross said. "I am so pleased Brandon took on this project and so happy the community is helping make this possible."
Cross said Officer Macy will be 3-years-old in April and that she is doing a great job.
"On Friday evening, we had three officers out and Officer Macy helped us detect five vehicles with drugs," Cross said. "Four were misdemeanors and one felony. She is really is really doing a fantastic job."
Simmons said he already has $199 in donations.
"We are running a Facebook page called Brandon Simmons senior project," Simmons said. "Donations can be made there or at Citizens Bank of West Virginia. Donations can also be made at firstname.lastname@example.org"
Simmons said through his project, he has learned that vest are important and can save lives.
"These dogs are not just animals," Simmons said. "They are an officer and a partner."
Simmons said he hopes to hold a bake sale, a dog basket raffle and an event where Cross will bring Officer Macy to meet members of the community.
Pritt said she is proud of her son's work.
"I think it shows maturity on his part to be so aware that animals need protection as well as humans," Pritt said. "To me, people think animals are expendible but they are not."
Simmons said once he raises the money for the vest, he will purchase the vest and present it to Officers Cross and Macy. Additional information about this project is available by calling 304-636-8517.