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K9 Tye: OPD's social media star

Posted at 12:03 PM, Jul 23, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Social media and animals go together like peanut butter and jelly. They just work. One Omaha dog has turned into a social media superstar, and that’s just his side job.

He’s not the greatest at fetch, but K9 Tye has thousands of fans.

"I kind of just did it a little different. I wanted it from his perspective, kind of put a spin on things," said Officer Jodi Sautter, Tye's social media manager.

When they’re not posting adorable videos, they’re out keeping the community safe.

"Tye is probably our most popular dog. Not just in the community but within this unit itself because he is so social and friendly," said Sgt. Steve Worley.

But when there’s trouble, Tye is all business, with a nose to track down criminals.

"We don't always know. We know what direction they went, but we don’t know where they went. So any which way if they break into houses, and his nose is what leads us to him," said Sautter.

His sense of smell, and power are what make him an asset at OPD.

"The dogs keep us safe," Sautter explained. "So we try to keep the community safe, and the dogs will keep the police safe."

It’s that message Sautter hopes officers will think of when they hear Tye’s name. In 2003 Jason "Tye" Pratt was killed in the line of duty.

"He was just a great guy, and a great officer," Sautter said. "It was a foot pursuit off of a traffic stop. The person ran. We didn't know who the person was at the time. They started looking, and unfortunately Jason looked in a bush."

OPD says that's when the suspect shot and killed Pratt.

After asking Pratt’s wife, Officer Sautter named her K9 Tye in honor of Officer Pratt.

"If they think Tye, they think, 'Let me not look in this bush. Let me not look under this deck. Let the dog do it. And keep me safer,'" Sautter said.

Working with Tye for six years, Officer Sautter says the two have a lot in common.

"You know, he was the kind of guy that would light up the room when he walked in, and everyone was laughing; he was always making jokes," Sautter said.

They both have left their mark on the force and the community.

"There’s a lot of people that have messaged me and said, 'You know, I always look forward to your tweets; it makes me smile. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll go look at his tweets,'" Sautter said. "So I mean that is a feel good, helping someone who is maybe in a bad spot lift their spirits for the day."

Working on the web and around Omaha, there’s only one thing Tye takes more seriously. That is spending as much time as he can with his partner and best friend.

"He follows me everywhere," Sautter said. "I think it's his comfort zone, knowing that he's next to me."