Shortly before 22-year-old Tecumseh police officer Justin Terney died in the line of duty, he had gotten a puppy named Onyx and they had big plans.
“He was on night shift and I was on night shift,” said Pottawatomie County sheriff's deputy Jared Strand.
Strand said Terney told him he wanted to be a K9 handler with Onyx.
“He talked about it a couple of times whenever we were just hanging out around dispatch or on a call,” Strand said.
So when Onyx lost his owner and needed a new place to go, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said he felt a great obligation to provide that.
“His real home is at Tecumseh, but we just have custody of him and taking care of him. But he’s for all law enforcement here in Pottawatomie County,” the sheriff said.
Strand is now Onyx's handler. The dog is 8 months old.
“It’s a huge honor and that’s why I’m working so hard to make sure that everything works out,” he explained.
Strand runs drills with the dog and takes him to monthly training sessions in Shawnee, hoping to help Onyx achieve his life's mission.
“I want Onyx to be the best K9 in the state, if not the nation,” he told News 9. “Because that’s what Justin was. He was a great officer and for him to carry that legacy on would be just great.”
Onyx is currently in testing to see which path he’ll take as a working dog. He could go out on patrol in as early as four to five months.
Booth thanked the Bricktown Brewery, 4-Way Automatic Transmission, Lexington police, Stratford police and Shawnee police for their help in making the K9 program possible.