Rep. Weber, IL House Honor Dax & Deputy Forlenza

Left to right: State Rep. Martin McLaughlin, State Rep. Joyce Mason, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy John Forlenza, House Minority Leader Tony McCombie and State Rep. Tom Weber.

Today at the Illinois Capitol, State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) and the Illinois House of Representatives honored the service of decorated Lake County Sheriff’s Police K9 Dax and his handler, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy John Forlenza. Dax and Deputy Forlenza were honored with the adoption of House Resolution 703, and Forlenza was at the Capitol today to be recognized.

Sadly, on the eve of his 10th birthday, Dax was injured in his neck and spine while apprehending a fleeing repeat felon, subsequently forcing his retirement. Due to the extent of Dax’s injuries, the difficult decision was made to end his suffering on April 12, 2024.

Rep. Weber speaking on the House floor as Rep. Martin McLaughlin holds a photo of Deputy Forlenza and Dax.

“Dax is one of the most decorated police K9s in the history of our state,” said Weber. “It’s only fitting that we honor his service as we would any law enforcement officer who has done so much to save lives and protect our communities.

“He was truly a special dog, but none of his accomplishments would have been possible without the dedication and determination of his handler. It is a testament to the time and constant training Deputy Forlenza put in over the years that Dax was able to achieve so much. It was my honor to recognize them both on the House floor today and thank Deputy Forlenza for his service and work with Dax.”

Dax and Deputy Forlenza’s partnership has been credited with saving over 400 lives and led to the seizure of millions of dollars, hundreds of kilos of illegal drugs, dozens of illegal firearms, and dozens of vehicles.

Dax has received numerous recognitions for his service over the years, including previously being recognized by the Illinois General Assembly, as well as earning the ASIS International-Illinois North Shore Chapter Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award in 2017, the Chicago Crime Commission Paws of Distinction in 2017, the K9’s of Valor Foundation K9 of the Year in 2018, the 100 Club of Chicago Valor Award in 2019, the American Humane Hero Dog for Law Enforcement in 2019, the Italian American Police Association Officer of the Year in 2019, a Lake County Sheriff’s Commendation Award in 2022, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Award for Valor in 2022, the Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor in 2023, and the German Shepard Dog Club of the Year Hero Dog Award in 2023.

Dax is the 6-time winner of the United States Police Canine Association Championship and has earned two Exceptional Tracking Certificates. He has gained national fame for his service due to numerous appearances on local and national TV, including Fox Nation Hero Dogs, Hallmark Channel’s – American Humane’s Hero Dog, Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family Show, NBC Access Daily, NBC Today Show, A&E Network’s – America’s Top Dog Competition, and ESPN’s Dynamic K9 Duos, in addition to being featured in People Magazine and performing numerous demonstrations to teach the public about police K9 skills and the police profession.

“Dax was a very special dog and my best friend,” said Deputy Forlenza. “I was fortunate to have been his handler for the past 9 years and have him become a part of my family. We will miss him deeply, but I appreciate that we have been able to honor his accomplishments and all that he has done to help protect our communities.”

For more information about HR 703 honoring Dax and Deputy Forlenza – Click Here.

Rep. Weber represents the 64th House District, which covers communities in northwest Lake County and northeast McHenry County along the Wisconsin border.