FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The 7-year-old son of an Alaska state trooper who was killed in the line of duty became an honorary member of the force for a day, teaming up with a police dog who shares his name.
Lenox Rich joined the Alaska State Trooper D Detachment in Fairbanks during a Police Memorial Day ceremony Friday, KTVF-TV reported.
The boy’s father, Trooper Gabriel Rich, and his partner, Sgt. Scott Johnson, were fatally shot in 2014 as they investigated a weapons violation suspect in Tanana, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) west of Fairbanks.
Detachment commander Capt. Ronald Wall said Lenox’s mother contacted them with the idea.
“It was just natural, everybody was on board and we thought it was a great idea,” Wall said.
Wall contacted the heads of the agency, Commissioner Amanda Price and Col. Bryan Barlow, who issued a signed certificate making Lenox an honorary member of the Alaska state troopers for a day.
After the ceremony making him part of the force, the boy rode with the police dog that has special significance for him. The dog is named Lenox, which was also his father’s middle name.
“The dog is named after his father, so naturally when it came time to put him with a trooper it was kind of a no-brainer for me,” Wall said.
The detachment also gave Lenox his father’s radio call sign to use as he helped pick up sandwiches for police officers around Fairbanks.
Lenox confirmed he has aspirations to join the state troopers when he is older.
“I like them because, like, you get a lot of action and all that,” he said. “It’s really fun.”
Lenox also wants to work with dogs.
“Because then I got like a pet with me, kind of,” Lenox said.