BY TAMPA from Bay News 9

A Polk County 14-year-old has done something great for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO). David J. raised more than $10,000 to purchase safety devices as part of an Eagle Scout project.

David combined his respect for law enforcement and his love of dogs for the project.

“I love dogs. I have two dogs myself and they are super fun to interact with and play around with,” David said.

The safety devices are Guardian Angel beacons worn by the K-9 unit — both the people and the dogs. The beacons emit an infrared signal that might allow a search team or chopper to spot the K-9 team if, for example, they got stranded in a wooded area while searching for a suspect.

“This is going to keep us safe for a very long time. If our radio goes down, the aviation unit can find us very easily,” said Deputy Jacob Owen.

David got to meet Sheriff Grady Judd while he worked on the fundraiser. The sheriff’s office posted something about the project on its social media, spurring some of the donations.

When David started his Eagle Scout project, he wasn’t sure how it would go, but he’s thrilled with the way it turned out. “And it’s made me happy with all the support I have gotten from everybody around my county.”

Deputy Warren is inspired by John’s efforts. “Any kid, if you put your mind to something, you can do anything you want to,” he said.

David purchased 65 of the beacons, 80 clips, and eight extra large igloo coolers for PCSO bloodhounds. He also donated $3,000 to Polk Sheriff’s Charities.

David has an Eagle Scout tradition in his family. His grandfather, father, and uncle are Eagle Scouts. John was awarded his Eagle Scout rank on Jan. 2.