Lake County's finest: K9 Dax makes headlines with yet another successful arrest

Dax the police dog does it again.

One week after winning a statewide award, the storied police canine from the Lake County Sheriff's Department has added another arrest to his resume.

Dax and his handler, Lake County Sheriff's Deputy John Forlenza have been working together solving crimes, apprehending suspects, and finding people for the sheriff’s department since 2015.

Dax was called into service again early Sunday morning, when sheriffs were sent to investigate a report of a fight in a motel room in Beach Park. When police arrived, they say 31-year-old Ricardo Perez, a recent parolee, jumped out of a second floor window with a gun and ran for it.


Dax quickly sniffed out the gun in a bush, and using the scent on the gun began searching for Perez.

"His respirations get quicker. His hair goes up," Forlenza explained. "He gets genuinely excited and wants to work that more intensely."

Dax quickly tracked the scent to a dumpster corral behind a nearby building. Police warned Perez he had been found, and when Perez refused to surrender, Dax made the arrest himself, chomping on the suspect's arm to hold him in place.

"They're really in shock," said Forlenza. "Because it's not something that happens to somebody very often, being apprehended by a police canine. But they bite with so much intense force that usually the suspects have no fight in them."

Perez was stitched up at a nearby hospital and is now being held on charges of resisting arrest and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

Just last week, Dax and Forlenza received a statewide medal of honor in Springfield for catching another criminal. Since he started working for the department in 2015, Dax has apprehended 13 suspects and tracked down more than 300 missing people.

And even though Dax is about to turn 10, which is about 70 in human years, he’s not ready for retirement.

"He’s performing at a higher level now, and I think a combination of that is he’s still very physically fit," Forlenza said. "There hasn’t been much drop off. But they gain a lot of wisdom as they get older. He knows the job."