SALT LAKE CITY – The Unified Police Department received two new, custom-fitted K-9 ballistic vests Thursday, and they have a dedicated Eagle Scout to thank for his project.
In a time of division and strained relations between police and the communities they serve, boy scout Toby Tirrell has given UPD a reason to be grateful.
“I asked if we could do it and we did it,” Tirrell said. “It looks really cool.”
The Eagle Scout project began in the fall of 2019 as an idea to raise $1,000 to buy a ballistic vest for a K-9 in the Unified Police Department. One bake sale and silent auction later, and the response was overwhelming.
“The kid worked his butt off and actually ended up buying two [vests],” UPD Sgt. Melody Gray said. “Both of those dogs now are going to be well protected and that’s really important for us.”
Tirrell arranged for the manufacturer to come to the police department and size the dogs. And Thursday he presented two, $1,000 ballistic vests to Tango and Nitro.
“UPD has lost two K-9s in the line of duty so this becomes incredibly meaningful for us to have somebody that cares that much,” Gray said.
And it turns out, Tirrell had his own reasons for caring that much.
“Growing up I’ve always wanted to be a police officer in the K-9 division,” he said. “Since the dogs protect us they need to have something to protect them.”
It will still be years before he realizes his dream of joining the force. But the protection he made possible for UPD was immediate.
“I just feel happy about getting it to them,” Tirrell said.