ROXBURY, NJ – A puppy donated to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section now bears a name that honors a police officer killed in Roxbury eight years ago.

The 5-month-old female Belgian Malinois, one of two puppies donated to the Sheriff’s Office, is now named JoJo in honor of Mount Arlington Police Officer Joseph Wargo. Wargo was killed on Route 80 on Oct. 16, 2011 when his patrol vehicle was struck by a drug-impaired driver.

“Despite efforts by police and emergency medical technicians to save him, Officer Wargo died,” said Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Peggy Wright in a statement. “The driver pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and in 2013 was sentenced to 20 years in state prison.”

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Wright said Wargo’s widow, Amy Wargo, told officials she was “deeply touched” by the naming of the puppy in Wargo’s honor. “This is really special,” Wargo said, according to Wright. “It shows that Joe has not been forgotten. He would be over the moon about it.”

The Sheriff’s Office also chose to honor Dover Police Officer Arthur Ohlsen, III, by naming a donated 10-week-old male Labrador retriever in his honor, according to Wright.

Ohlsen, an 18-year veteran of the department, died Dec. 30, 2003 when he was struck by a New Jersey Transit train under the Salem Street overpass in Dover “as he directed fire apparatus to the scene of a blaze on the tracks and tried to ensure that people known to congregate by the tracks were not in danger,” Wright said.

The dog is now named Odie, which was Ohlsen’s nickname on the police force, Wright said.

Ohlsen’s son, Trevor Ohlsen, is a Morris County sheriff’s officer.  A second son, Arthur Ohlsen IV, is a former Morris County Sheriff’s Officer who now is a Parsippany Police Officer.

“I think this is an amazing tribute to my father,” said Trevor Ohlsen, according to Wright. “Both my family and myself want to thank the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and everyone that voted for naming one of the new K-9 puppies after him.”

Many Names from Which to Choose

The Sheriff’s Office asked for name suggestions for the puppies and received 398 submissions, Wright said.

“Officers Ohlsen and Wargo are still remembered and very much missed,” said Morris County Sheriff James Gannon in a statement. “Naming these beautiful dogs who are partnered with Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Detectives for them keeps their spirits alive within the law enforcement community.”

Wright said the suggestion to name the dogs after Ohlsen and Wargo came from retired Dover Police Officer Tim Thiel and resident Eric Budinger.

“The hundreds of submissions showed a great sense of fun, wit, thoughtfulness and even scholarship,” Write said. “There were some duplications – Lola and Titan were suggested more than a dozen times – and many people wanted the retriever to grow up with a human name, like Walter, Sherman, Steve or Jack. Prince and King also were favorites.”

She said other submissions “called upon mythology with the names Thor, Zeus, Artemis and Apollo. Other proposed monikers were a bit long: Captain McPuppyface Good Boy and Commander Floppy Eared Booper Nose. Some suggested names associated with law enforcement: Justice, Badge, and Honor.”

Getting Ready to Serve

The puppies got checked out by a veterinarian on Nov. 6, Wright said. The male weighed-in at 13.1 pounds. “

His handler is Morris County Sheriff’s Office K9 Section Detective John Granato, who already has begun training the Labrador in explosives detection through odor recognition exercises,” Wright said.

The Belgian Malinois weighed 36 pounds. “She is handled by Morris County Sheriff’s Office K9 Section Detective Marc Adamsky, who will train her in search and rescue and accelerant detection,” Wright said. “The specialized training will take up to six months before certification occurs. But both dogs will likely not start their official working careers until they are a year old and more mature.”

Wright said the Labrador was donated to the Sheriff’s Office by Walter Quense, founder and trainer of onPOINT-K9 in Bernards Township and the Belgian Malinois was donated by Jeff Riccio, founder and trainer at Riptide K9 in Plymouth, Mass.

“Both donors have a professional relationship with K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon,” she said. “The donations will save Morris County about $12,000 that otherwise would have been spent on new dogs for the K9 Section.”

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