Lake County Sheriff's Office K-9, Dax, and Deputy John Forlenza brought home several regional titles from the United States Police Canine Association's Region No. 19 Dog Patrol Trial.
Forlenza and Dax received first place in patrol dog overall division, cadaver detection and criminal apprehension and an exceptional certification in tracking.
The pair also received the Boris Award for Top Apprehension Dog, was a top finisher in Agility and Tracking and received an invitation to the USPCA's National Patrol Dog Field Trial. The competition was in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
During Forlenza and Dax's first shift back after the competition, they were able to find a missing Vernon Hills man.
The 51-year-old man had threatened to harm himself before fleeing his friend's home on foot.
At 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Forlenza and Dax went to the area of Route 45 and Buffalo Grove Road in Vernon Hills, where the duo initiated an immediate track.
After tracking the scene for about a quarter of a mile, Dax was able to locate the man in heavy brush next to Indian Creek just west of Buffalo Grove Road. The man was unconcious.
Paramedics were called to the scene, and the man was taken to a local hospital because he was unconcious and for a mental health evaluation.
In a statement, Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said he is thrilled at the number of regional titles Forlenza and Dax received.
"Only about one in 500 K-9s typically earn the Tracking Exceptional Certification, and it’s been 12 years since the last time a Region 19 K-9 achieved this challenging certification," he 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 K-9 teams and believe they provide a tremendous service to the Lake County community.”