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Lake County Canine Dax places top dog at competition, then finds missing suicidal man in Vernon Hills

Lake County Sheriff Canine Dax places top-dog at a regional competition in Michigan.

Just two weeks after being named the nation’s top Law Enforcement Hero Dog, Lake County Sheriff Canine Dax placed top-dog at a regional competition and then located a missing man on his first shift back.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said that Deputy John Forlenza and Canine Dax traveled to Sterling Heights, Michigan this past week to participate in the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Region #19 Patrol Dog Trial. The duo brought home several regional titles following the certification and competition course.

During the first two days, Canine Dax completed his annual certifications in tracking, narcotics searches in rooms and vehicles, and cadaver detection.

For the last two days, he participated in a trial where he competed in the areas of obedience, agility, scent work involving suspects and article searches, apprehension, and apprehension with gunfire, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.

Canine Dax got first place as overall patrol dog, first place in cadaver detection and first place in criminal apprehension. Dax was also given the Tracking Exceptional certification and the Boris Award for being top apprehension dog.

Dax was the top finisher in agility and tracking, and received an invitation to USPCA’s National Patrol Dog Field Trial in November.

Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said that on Deputy Forlenza and Canine Dax’s first shift back from the competition they were called to assist Vernon Hills police with finding a missing 51-year-old man.

Covelli said that the man threatened to harm himself before fleeing his friend’s home on foot near Route 45 and Buffalo Grove Road in Vernon Hills. The two responded around 5:30 a.m. Saturday and began a track.

Canine Dax tracked the scent of the man for about a quarter-mile before locating him unconscious in heavy brush next to the Indian Creek just west of Buffalo Grove Road, Covelli said.

The man was transported to a local hospital by paramedics and is expected to survive.

“Deputy John Forlenza and his four-legged partner, Dax, have done it yet again! We are thrilled at the number of regional titles they bring home to Lake County. Only about one in 500 canines typically earn the Tracking Exceptional Certification and it’s been 12 years since the last time a Region 19 canine achieved this challenging certification,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.

“Those tracking skills were highlighted on their first shift back to work when they undoubtedly saved the life of a missing suicidal man, who they found unconscious. We are very proud of all of our Sheriff’s Canine Teams and believe they provide a tremendous service to the Lake County Community,” Idleburg added.


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