Keeping vigil by his dad's police car is comforting to. His father, Rob Pitts, was an officer in the Terre Haute police department in Indiana, and he was killed in a shootout earlier this month.
When it was time for Dakota to return to school this week, he had a special request. He asked his mother if an officer could take him to school on his first day back.
Police answered the call, turning out in force. They formed an honor guard for Dakota as he arrived, with his father's shield around his neck. There were about 70 officers in all. They even made him an honorary member of his father's special response team.
Father and son were close, so close that he wrote a message to his dad, hoping he would see it from heaven.
"He wrote, 'Dear dad, I love you and miss you so much,'" said Dakota's mom.
Dakota has been following in his father's footsteps, receiving "challenge coins" for his own acts of kindness, and hopes to don a uniform of his own one day.
"I don't want to be a hero," Dakota said. "I want to be a police officer."