Thousands Honor Fallen Tecumseh Police Officer

Friday, March 31st 2017, 1:40 pm
By: Tess Maune

Hundreds of people from across the country lined the streets in Pittsburg County to say goodbye to a Tecumseh police officer killed in the line of duty.

Officer Justin Terney's memorial service was in the Canadian high school gym. The small town just north of McAlester is where Terney grew up and where he graduated high school just a few years ago.

Friday, officers came from across Oklahoma, and across the country, to honor an officer who gave everything he had.

Terney’s final farewell was fit for a hero, because that is how the officer lived, and also how he died.

3/30/2017 Related Story:Tecumseh Community Holds Candlelight Vigil For Fallen Officer

“He just loved helping people,” said Eufaula Police Officer Bud Martin. “He was a true hero.”

Martin and Terney had been friends for years. Martin helped show Terney the ropes when he was just a young pup, dreaming of hitting the streets as an officer.

3/31/2017 Related Story: Oklahoma Hunters Raise Money For Fallen Officer's Family

“He's always wanted to be an officer. He turned 17, he started riding along. He was with us all the time,” Martin said.

Pictures Terney shared on social media last September show him as a little boy with a big dream, and next to it is Terney as an officer who would eventually give his life protecting his community.

“He was doing great things,” Detective Kevin Branscum said.

Outside of work, Terney loved to hunt, fish and keep people smiling.

Martin said, “He always had you laughing and he always had his 'choccy milk' in his hand.”

Blake 102.5 FM streamed Justin's memorial service live on Facebook; it was said there that Terney wanted to be an officer from the time he could talk, “He would dress up as a soldier or a cop. It was in his blood. He always wanted to salute.”

Friday, the salute was for Officer Terney.

“Hero dying serving the people of Tecumseh and the state of Oklahoma,” Branscum said.

Terney’s next goal was to become a K9 officer - he was in the process of training a K9 when he died.

Police from NYPD, Chicago PD, Baltimore PD and from the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin arrived Thursday night for Friday's funeral.

Officer Laurie McManus flew in Thursday night from a county east of New York City. She said nothing could have stopped her from coming to honor Terney.

“As soon as I heard of it I knew I was coming,” McManus said. “It's just one big family, and, ya know, we all feel like he's a brother to us. We didn't know him, but it's as if we did.”

Although most of the people who came to show their support had never met Terney, there were still many who knew him well.

They said becoming an officer was a dream he worked hard to accomplish. Terney joined the Tecumseh Police Department as a rookie last January.