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K-9 Onyx, Pott. County Deputy Jared Strand complete training

Elisabeth Slay
Pottawatomie County Sheriff Deputy and Investigator Jared Strand and seize dog Onyx demonstrate their new found skills by practicing a sweep of a school bus.

Onyx, a dog that once belonged to fallen Tecumseh Police Officer Justin Terney, has completed several months of training with his handler, Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Deputy and Investigator Jared Strand.

Since they've returned from training, the duo has been utilized greatly to assist police departments throughout the county with their investigations.

According to Strand, if it weren't for Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth contacting the Terney family after Justin was killed in the line of duty, there would be no partnership between him and Onyx and there would be no county K-9 program.

Strand said Onyx began his narcotics training with the Shawnee Police Department before both he and his handler attended schooling at Torchlight K9 in Tulsa.

"We've been through two of Shawnee's 40-hour handler schools...in Tulsa it was a 160-hour course that covered narcotics, tracking, aggression control and apprehension," Strand said.

Strand said he was taught how to read Onyx's behavior, how to run him on narcotics, how to read him as he's tracking and several obedience methods to keep Onyx focused on the job.

The officer explained since he brought Onyx back from his training, he has been used to find illegal substances, track people down and in various investigations.

"We got back on (February 29) and as soon I pull up into the courthouse guys are suiting up to serve a robbery, kidnapping and domestic violence warrant and that was his first appointment," Strand said.

The officer said Onyx is the only dog the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office uses for investigations and he pretty much makes up the whole K-9 program.

"The whole program entails everything from narcotics to search warrants, arrest warrants (and) man hunts. We stay pretty busy," Strand said. "Right now I believe (Onyx) is the only dual purpose canine in the county minus Shawnee's dogs."

Strand said Onyx is pretty much his dog and he goes with him everywhere from home to Bethel Public Schools, where Strand is School Resource Officer.

For Strand, the best aspect of handling Onyx is pretty much everything.

"He's a good partner to have. He's very protective and he's just a smart dog. He picks up very quick," Strand said.

However, Strand said it can be challenging for Onyx to be the only dual purpose dog at the County Sheriff's Office because he has to do a lot of work that can easily wear him out.

"You get a lot of activities in one day and you can wear your dog out so I think that's one of the biggest challenges, but he seems to be up for it," Strand said.

The deputy said he's looking forward to continuing his work with Onyx, “catching bad guys” and keeping Justin's memory alive.

"I think (Justin) would be very proud and he'd be happy," Strand said.