By PoliceOne Staff
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The 5-year-old son of an Indiana officer killed in the line of duty was given a special welcome back at school thanks to several law enforcement officers.
WNDU reported that Dakota Pitts, son of slain Terre Haute Officer Rob Pitts, returned to school Monday for the first time since his father’s death. Dakota told his mom that he didn’t want to show up on his first day alone and asked for a police escort.
But the young boy didn’t expect so many officers to appear when he arrived to school. About 70 Terre Haute officers and Vigo County Sheriff’s Deputies welcomed Dakota back to school, according to WTHI.
Dakota asked his mom if one of his dad’s friends could drive him to school for his first day back. Little did he know that would turn into 70 Terre Haute and Vigo County officers showing up in Sullivan. He was shocked ?? pic.twitter.com/lbXquLdTJU
— Kiley Thomas (@KileyWTHI) May 14, 2018
The SWAT team even gave Dakota his own shirt and badge. Kelli Jones, Officer Pitts’ sister, said the moment gave her chills.
“He will definitely know his dad was a hero,” Jones said. “Blood doesn’t always make family and I think the blue family went above and beyond.”
Officer Pitts was one of four officers who were fired on when they approached a murder suspect at an apartment complex on May 4. The officer was rushed to a hospital, where he died.
Les Hamm, a detective with the Terre Haute Police Department, said Dakota’s mother reached out to family members and colleagues after her son asked for police to escort him to school.
“It’s a brotherhood; it’s not like any other job you’re going to have,” Hamm said. “Guys are close, you form bonds that you wouldn’t form in a different profession. When somebody’s in need, we go, especially for a fallen officer and his kid.”