Kiwanians give money for K9 vest, scholarships for worthy graduates

Herald/Steven Doll - Okey, a Killeen Police Department K9, catches his toy in the air after it’s tossed by handler Officer Scott Gillman during a demonstration for the Kiwanis Club of Killeen at its Scholarship Banquet Wednesday evening at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. -

By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

The streets will be a bit safer for a member of one of the Killeen Police Department's special units, who received a special vest Wednesday to protect him when he goes into dangerous situations.

It will be difficult to get this member's equipment confused with most of the others, as he has four legs and goes by the name "Okey."

Okey is a 3-year-old German shepherd, part of one of several K-9 units in the Killeen police force.

On Wednesday, he was on hand doing demonstrations for the Kiwanis Club, whose members pulled in enough money to get Okey a vest in case any unsavory resident tries to shoot at him.

Okey lives and works with KPD Officer Scott Gillman.

Gillman said this will be an invaluable safety tool to him and the dog he loves and works with.

"It's huge; without donations to get this, K9 Okey would be without any protection in the field," Gillman said.

Just don't call Okey an "attack dog" – he's an "apprehension dog."

And officers will correct you just as Officer David Cole did to one of the Kiwanis members Wednesday.

Cole and Gillman gave a demonstration of Okey's abilities Wednesday, representing a scenario where Okey apprehended Cole as he attempted to escape by biting the protective arm vest – and refusing to let go until receiving the command to do so from Gillman.

The KPD officers thanked the club for donating the money for the vest.

Club member Dick Atkinson said that KPD approached the club about it, and members were pleased to help the community by donating the money.

The club also was instrumental in providing $9,700 in scholarship money Wednesday night to several graduates of the Killeen Independent School District.

Hudson Diederich of Ellison High School will attend Nashville, Tenn.-based Belmont University in the fall for its music program.

"It's $30,000 a year, so every little bit helps," Diederich said, smiling.

Students who received a scholarship from the Kiwanis Club are:

Killeen High: Briana Kothlow and LaKeisha Leonard.

Shoemaker: Jameasha Parker.

Ellison: Raven Smith, Jasmine Carter, Natasha Walker, Rebecca English, Cherrelle Thomas, Hudson Diederich, Mia Massey and Phylicia Horton.

Contact Justin Cox at or (254) 501-5768.

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