9-year-old raises money for new ballistics vests for FCSO's K-9s

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Florence County Sheriff's Office gave our cameras a look at the 12 K-9's they use to help keep drugs off the streets. And with our cameras rolling, we met a local girl who gave the K-9 units a gift to help protect those officers while they're working for you.

Nine-year-old Hannah Smith-Gore raised $6,000 within two months, so that every K-9 working with the Florence County Sheriff's Office can have a ballistics vest.

"I thought it would be nice to help the K-9's like I do with my dogs. And I heard on the radio about one of the dogs being hurt," said Smith-Gore.

Hannah enlisted her friends and sold baked goods to make enough money to buy seven ballistics vests, each costs more than $800.

"Little Hannah, she did great, and we commend her on her efforts, and she just an amazing little girl who did a lot for us," said Florence County Sheriff, Kenney Boone.

Sheriff Boone said before Hannah's generous gift to the department, not every dog was fitted with a ballistics vest.

"The dogs actually ride with us every day; they're our partners. The dogs actually have several skills they can do," said Sgt. Anderson Beane.

Skills which are learned right here in Effingham, on a special training ground.

"They do apprehension, narcotics work, they do building search, area search, article search… looking for articles that the suspect might have thrown down," said Beane.

Today deputies demonstrated how the K-9's are trained. The K-9's are so well trained that in mid-pursuit if given the command, they'll stop chasing a suspect.

"The dogs, they look out for the handler. They look out for us, so we like to look out for them," said Beane.

Sgt. Beane is just one of the deputies partnered with a K-9 everyday. Sgt. Bean said while these animals are well-trained, you should know that if you see one of the K-9's in action, you need to remember they're not pets.

"They don't need to antagonize the dogs. When we bring the dogs out, everybody needs to stay still. They don't need to try and get in and pet the dogs," said Beane.

The dogs train up to four hours a week in Effingham and can serve for up to eight years before being retired.

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