West Plains, Mo. elementary students wash cars to raise money for a new k-9 officer

WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- Earlier this year, the only K-9 officer for the West Plains Police Department had to retire due to health reasons. Thursday, elementary students did their part in raising funds so the department can get a new K-9.

Third graders from West Plains Elementary are hard at work, washing cars to raise money for a new K-9. Each grade, Kindergarten through 4th, gets an hour to wash cars. So far, the kids have washed dozens of cars and raised over $500.

One by one, the cars pulled up for their special wash.

"I thought that it was good experience for people who didn't know how to wash a car," said one third grader.

The day started with the kindergartners and ended with the fourth graders.

Cars pull up and a swarm of kids engulf the cars.

"It's a hot day today so mostly about getting wet," said another third grader.

"I think my car is clean. What do you think," Linda Szigety exclaimed.

Linda Szegity has never experienced a car wash like this.

"Never, never. But I think it's wonderful that they're doing it. It's a great way to get the kids involved in the community and helping support the police dog that helps keep them safe," Szigety added.

Tuk, the department's K-9 for the past seven years had to retire in April.

"He had what the call degenerative myelopathy. The way it was explained to me, it's the K9 equivalent of Lou Gehrig's Disease," West Plains Police K-9 Officer Justin Brown explained.

Officer Brown says the work of a K-9 cannot be understated.

"K-9's are a very useful tool, he told KY3. They're used more often than people know. Now it's up to the officers to do the job the K-9 would do, which makes it more difficult for us."

The department hopes to raise money for two dual-purpose dogs.

The dogs would be trained in anything form narcotics, to search and rescue and apprehension.

The cost is $15,000 per dog.

So far fundraising efforts have brought in around $5,000.

"That was amazing. Absolutely amazing seeing those kids doing that. Working hard to help us raise that money," Officer Brown stated.

Once the department raises the money, it could be a soon as a month before they get the new K-9.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.