Fallen Officer's Dog Being Trained As Police K9

Tuesday, February 11th 2020, 5:58 am
By: Jonathan Cooper

Nearly three years after an Oklahoma police officer was killed in the line of duty, his dog is now helping carry on his legacy.

Tecumseh Officer Justin Terney bought a dog a few weeks before he was shot and killed by a suspect.

Now, that dog is training to be a K9 officer for an Oklahoma Sheriff's Department.

"It's a lot of highly specialized training in terms of time and effort,” said Ted Summers, a trainer at Torchlight K9 in Tulsa.

Onyx is one of several being trained right now at Torchlight K9 in Tulsa, a specialty training program for dogs to be used as police K9s and in the military.

Summers has worked with Onyx since the fall and quickly learned his story was unique.

"I think that is very much a fitting legacy for Onyx to continue to work," said Summers.

Onyx, was bought as a puppy by Officer Justin Terney with the Tecumseh Police Department - with the idea of one day getting him trained as a police K9.

Sadly though, that plan was delayed.

Officer Terney was shot and killed in the line of duty in March of 2017.

Pottawatomie County Deputy Jared Strand knew him well.

"Tecumseh, they usually have one officer out. So being a deputy, covering the entire county, if he needed something and he was the only out, they called us," said Strand.

After Terney died, Strand took Onyx in himself and made it his goal to continue Terney's legacy.

Part of that is to see Onyx as a police K9 working for the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office.

“Being with the family and seeing some of the stuff they'd had to go through the past few years waiting for a trial and stuff like that,” said Strand. “This is something that no matter what's going on, his family sees Onyx, and you can instantly see that worry and all that go away."

And now in just a few weeks, Onyx will be patrolling the streets just like his first owner.

"In the midst of a tragedy, there was something good that came out of it," said Strand.

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