Aftermath Attends K9 Graduation for Lake County Sheriff’s Office

K9s with Call-out Boxes. Lake County Sheriff's Office.

K9 officers Dax, Diesel, and Duke became official members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office during a swearing in ceremony last week. For two days, Aftermath and a camera crew followed the progress of these special officers.

Participants included Sgt. McKinney, Dep. Forlenza, Dep. Somerville, Dep. Arrowood and their respective partners: Dax, Diesel, and Duke. TOPS Trainers Alex Rothacker and Paul Pomazal were also on hand.

Each dog has his own personality: Dax is a real Bruce Willis character – fun and action-packed; Diesel sounds and acts like Scooby Doo (very much the life of the party); meanwhile, Duke is the laid-back southern gent, much like John Wayne. The K9s are trained at TOPS Kennel in Grayslake, IL. They also attend continuing education at the facility.

On the first day, the K9s showed off their skills in several apprehension scenarios, including bite demonstrations (courtesy of Laney, our brave account manager from Crisp Marketing) They also performed obstacle course runs and some treadmill exercises (the dogs typically run at least 20 minutes a day). The day ended at the Northern Illinois K9 Memorial, where all fallen K9s serving Northern Illinois rest. Each year in November, a memorial service is held to honor their contributions to the community.

Thursday, Duke showed us how they search jail cells; he did very well, and was rewarded with some quality toy time. But the highlight of the day was the swear-in ceremony. On cue, each K9 raised his right paw to take the oath and barked their willingness to serve the community. Sgt. McKinney reported that this was first time they had the dogs trained to raise their paws during the event. The dogs are now officially full-time employees of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office – they’re REAL police dogs now!

For the past several years, Aftermath has sponsored an Annual K9 Contest, giving K9 programs nationwide the opportunity to win a grant to use toward the care, equipment, or training of a K9 unit. This year’s contest begins in October, so be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page or Twitter for details on how you can help your own community’s K9 force!