Johnny Simmons may be a little cautious around dogs, but he certainly is proud to inspire the name of the Apopka Police Department’s new canine officer.
Simmons, a sixth-grader at Apopka Memorial Middle School, submitted the winning name - Honor – as part of a contest for all students at Apopka Middle and nearby Wolf Lake Middle School. His award on Thursday afternoon was a pizza party for his class, a canine demonstration and a special visit from police officers, Chief Michael McKinley, Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and City Commissioner Diane Velazquez.
“It is a special name,” Simmons said. “I talked with Officer Diaz about ideas. We talked about A/B Honor Roll and the word honor just popped up.”
His mother, Angela Simmons, wasn’t sure Johnny would come up with a good name because of his insecurity around dogs: “I am so proud of him that his name was selected.”
Police Chief Michael McKinley said plenty of names were submitted, and Honor is fitting for the service canine officers provide to the police department. “This is a great name for the dog,” McKinley told the students.
Honor - an energetic, 21-month-old Belgian Malinois - is teamed up with Apopka police Officer Josean Velez Cantres, who joined the Apopka Police Department five years ago. The two started working together last month, and they have been training to teach the dog patrol and drug detection skills.
The police department received dozens of ideas from school students to name the canine – everything from common dog names to unusually common school items like pencil and paper. News of the contest spread quickly online, where local residents offered a few of their own suggestions for the students to name the canine - Darter, Tater, Scout, Thor and Sawyer among the different ideas.