North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety swears in first Junior K9 officer

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 5:15 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A first for the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety, officers swore in the first Junior K9 officer for its new kid’s program.

Police launched the Junior K9 Program as a way to spotlight kids in kindergartner-5th grade who exhibit positive behaviors in the classroom.

Every month, a participating school will nominate a student for the program. The child will then be honored by the police and their peers during a special ceremony.

RELATED COVERAGE | New North Myrtle Beach ‘Junior K9 Program’ aims to spotlight good behavior in schools

The student will take an oath to uphold the positive values of a Junior K9 Officer while encouraging more students to do the same.

Rylee Delconte is a second-grade student at Holy Trinity Catholic School. She is the first North Myrtle Beach student inducted as a Junior K9 Officer.

The induction ceremony took place Monday morning at Holy Trinity. Rylee was surrounded by students, school leaders, police and family.

Rylee’s teacher nominated her for the program after seeing her continue to demonstrate positive behaviors in the classroom, including preventing any type of bullying at the school.

“When some people were being mean to other students I would tell them to stop,” Rylee said.

The icing on the ceremonial cake for Rylee, her name is pinned on the vest of one of the department’s K9s. It will be displayed on the vest for an entire month.

K9 handler Officer Patrick Wilkinson said it’s important to put a spotlight on all the good young kids are doing so they continue doing great things in the community.

“My partner K9 Jolene is going to be wearing Rylee’s name tag for the whole world to see,” Wilkinson said. “I’m honored. There was a lot of thought put into it, putting kids out there on a good note, a positive way. Rewarding that good behavior and having a special girl like Rylee, honor my dog, pinning her name, watch her light up as the first officer, I think that’s really special.”

The department will be inducting two additional students into the Junior K9 program later on this week, at Ascent Christian Academy and Risen Christ Christian Academy.

The department says they are accepting community donations to be used strictly for the program, to help make the Junior K9 officer experience even brighter.

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