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Pottawatomie County deputy, K-9 honored for work

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Onyx and deputy Jared Strand were honored this week for their work in a child sexual assault case.

Pottawatomie County deputy Jared Strand and his K-9 Onyx were honored Wednesday, July 8 for their work in a child abuse case.

Strand said he and Onyx assisted officers as they investigated a child sexual assault case.

“We were trying to do interviews with kids to figure out exactly what had happened and they didn’t feel comfortable talking to anybody,” Strand said. “So (the children) saw that I had a K-9 and...eventually one of the victims said…’I’ll talk to Onyx.’ So Onyx helps us get a disclosure on that to get justice for those kids.” 

Strand said he was happy he and Onyx were able to help those children and that they were recognized for their work. 

“It feels good to see us get awarded and (for) people to see what we’re doing for our community,” Strand said. 

In addition to his duties as a deputy, Strand said he is a School Resource Officer at Bethel Public Schools and Onyx helps him keep students safe.

Strand said due to COVID-19 shutting down schools he and Onyx have been working mostly from home, but they’ve received support from the community.

The Bethel community was helping Strand and Onyx attempt to win a contest in which Onyx would receive a pair of safety goggles and Strand would receive a $100.

“We didn’t win. We took third place but after it was put out somebody donated $2,000 towards protecting K-9 heroes and so they have to raise a little more money, but (they’re) going to send a pair of goggles to everyone that entered in the competition,” Strand said. 

The officer said while they didn’t win the giftcard, he’s grateful to be receiving safety goggles for Onyx as he continues his work in investigations and other police matters.

“Whenever you’re tracking with your dog and you’re going through a bunch of heavy brush and stuff and you’ve got branches hitting him in the face (the goggles) can eliminate your dog getting an injury to his eyes,” Strand said.

Strand said as of now he and Onyx are supposed to return to BPS  during the first few weeks of school.

The SRO said he and Onyx are looking forward to seeing both the students and teachers of Bethel schools again.