Although Officer Justin Terney was still a rookie with the Tecumseh Police Department in Oklahoma, he apparently made it known to all who would listen that his goal was to become a K-9 officer. He even purchased a Belgian Malinois puppy named Onyx, because the breed is often used in law enforcement. Sadly, Terney was unable to fulfill his dream with Onyx. The 22-year-old was fatally shot in the line of duty on March 26, 2017, during a foot pursuit of a fleeing subject following a traffic stop.
When Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth and Deputies Jesse McCord and Jared Strand learned about Terney’s plan for his puppy, they connected with his family and offered to take over Onyx’s training. In fact, many of Terney’s law enforcement brothers and sisters in the area volunteered. Every member of the Shawnee Police K-9 Unit pitched in their training expertise to make sure the dog succeeded. Onyx was an excellent student and certified as a narcotics canine within seven months. He even made his first seizure within his first year of duty. Now, five years later, Onyx continues working for the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, participating in numerous narcotics seizures and suspect surrenders.
“Onyx is now being handled by Deputy Beckham and will continue to serve our community for several more years and our Office will continue to honor [Officer] Terney with our Canine Unit. We will never forget, we will always honor this hero,” the agency posted on Facebook.
Additionally, Booth, McCord and Strand founded the annual Justin Terney Poker Run fundraiser. At the fifth annual event last summer, sponsored by Ride Oklahoma Charities, motorcyclists from throughout the region raised more than $10,600 for the agency to help pay for Onyx’s vet care, food and specialized equipment, as well as covering some costs for the K-9 program’s new Dodge Durango.
“Being able to raise this amount of money through the generosity of the motorcycle riders who support law enforcement is overwhelming and amazing,” McCord told The Shawnee News-Star.