Over the last year, Emma Shurley and 5 other League Academy students have worked on a special project with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. It was part of the school's LEGO robotics team's project.
"We've been building a vest to help the officers to have a better camera system,” said Shurley.
The students tested nearly a dozen camera systems, and settled on a home security camera to mount on a dog.
"Before, they had it on basically a selfie stick on the back of a vest,” explained Shurley. “Which wasn't working that well if they were in an air duct. We put it on the front of the chest. So they could see better and wouldn't get knocked over."
The K9 units are often used to scout out areas. Deputy Will Watkins says improved technology alone can improve safety and save a life.
“We can send the dog in and get a snapshot of where we're heading before we step in there,” explained Watkins.
The students upgraded the camera and also eliminated what Deputy Watkins says is one of the biggest issues with their old camera system - officers would lose their Bluetooth connection with the camera on the dog.
"What the kids have done, they've worked around that,” said Deputy Watkins. “They've been able to plug it with a Wifi system. We can go anywhere we get phone reception. We can see where the dogs are going. It makes it a heck of a lot easier for us to go into large buildings."
Shurley said, "It's really nice to know that we're actually going to do something helpful that's going to change the community."
She added the students have gotten to know some of the deputies through the process and says the students knew they had to help.
"It would be really disappointing if we knew this was a problem and didn't do anything,” explained Shurley. “Now that we have done something, we know he's going to be safer."
Watkins says it’s unbelievable what the team of middle schooler students was able to do to help their department.
"It's awesome! It's awesome they thought about us and wanted to help us,” said Deputy Watkins. “We really appreciate that."
Watkins said the Sheriff’s Office is looking at equipping all of their K9s with the same gear.
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