Lake County, IL – Celebrating the Legacy: K9 Officer Dax Retires After Illustrious Career


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Waukegan, IL – K9 Dax, a highly decorated officer of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, has retired after a distinguished career spanning nearly a decade. 

Partnered with Deputy John Forlenza since spring 2015, Dax has been instrumental in numerous operations, leading to the recovery of significant quantities of illegal drugs, the seizure of millions of dollars, and the location of over 400 missing persons and suspects.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office highlights that K9 Dax’s achievements have been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Humane Hero Dog Law Enforcement Winner in 2019 and commendations from the Illinois House of Representatives and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office itself. Dax’s prowess was further demonstrated through his exceptional performance in various United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) competitions, securing top finishes in several key law enforcement skills.

An injury in March 2024, while in the line of duty, led to K9 Dax being diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), bringing his active service to an end. Despite this setback, Dax’s spirit remained undeterred, showcasing remarkable resilience during his recovery period.

As Deputy Forlenza and Sheriff John D. Idleburg reflect on Dax’s impactful career, they commend his unparalleled dedication to public safety and the profound bond shared between Dax and the community. K9 Dax’s retirement marks the end of an era for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, but his legacy of heroism, loyalty, and service will continue to inspire. A retirement ceremony to honor K9 Dax’s contributions and celebrate his successful career is in the planning stages.


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