In January 2015, the Lake County Sheriff announced awarding of a grant from D.A.S. Charitable Fund for the purchase and training of three law enforcement K-9s.
The German Shepard breed was selected due to intelligence and overall adaptability to the extreme cold and heat experienced in the Midwest. German Shepards have the characteristics needed to perform many K-9 law enforcement tasks including tracking, contraband detection and article and cadaver searches.
The selected rookie K-9s were matched with deputy handlers based on compatibility. Each deputy is assigned a German Shepard partner creating a K-9 team. Teams began training at TOPS Police K-9 training facility Grayslake in early April.
Rookie K-9 Naming Contest
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office invited local middle school students to participate in naming the three rookie K9s. The deadline for the contest was March 4th. Names were selected by mid-March and the press conference announcing the student winners was held on Thursday, April 2, 2015. The names selected were Dax, Diesel and Duke.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office received 671 submissions from 31 middle schools throughout Lake County. The schools included public, private and home school organizations. Winning participants represented Beach Park Middle School, Big Hollow Middle School, Caruso Middle School, Fischer Christian Academy, Millburn Middle School, St. Joseph’s Middle School and Uren Academy.
Aftermath Presents $5,000 Winning to Sheriff's K9 Unit
On Friday, November 6, 2015 Aftermath Services presented the Lake County Sheriff's K9 Unit with a $5,000 check for winning the 4th Annual K9 Giveaway Contest.
The contest was a national contest open to law enforcement agencies with K9 units. Police departments in Colorado and Massachusetts earned 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. Contest rules required participants to garner votes for their K9 teams. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office climbed to 2nd place in the final days before the contest ended on October 31, 2015 at midnight and to first place.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Donates Three K9 Vests
In March 2016, Lake County Sheriff's Office K9's Dax, Diesel and Duke received bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vests are embroidered with the sentiment "in memory of K9 Rocco Pittsburgh Bureau of Police."