At an awards event held in Waukegan on Thursday afternoon, two new Lake County sheriff’s dogs were sworn in and more than two dozen residents and sheriff’s staff members were honoured. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Training Room in the Lake County Criminal Court Tower in downtown Waukegan hosted the event at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Along with their handlers, Deputies Kevin Gauer and Tyler Girmscheid, canines Axel and Echo were sworn in by County Clerk Robin O’Connor.
At TOPS Kennel in Grayslake, both dogs finished their eight-week initial training earlier this month. In March, about 400 Lake County kids from various schools named the two canines. Ethan Jacobs, a junior at Deerfield High School, and Matthew Prigorenko and Carson Alper, seventh-graders at Hawthorn Middle School, received awards for naming Axel and Charlotte Regner, a kindergartener at Millburn Elementary School, received awards for naming Echo.
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Jacobs established a GoFundMe campaign and raised $3,000 to buy the new canines protection vests. Sincerely, I merely thought of the name when I saw the dog’s photo, admitted Jacobs. The canine squad is no different. “Our police force is confronted with the never-ending work of serving and protecting our communities, but in this line of duty, they also have a responsibility to protect themselves as well.”
Nearly a dozen additional individuals and sheriff’s office employees were recognised by officials. William Farner received the Citizen Lifesaving Award in December 2021 at the North Shore Sports Club in Lake Forest for his life-saving efforts. Employees of the club Farner and Matthew Siebert revived the 83-year-old man who had passed out using CPR and an AED. According to officials, the man was saved because of Farner and Siebert’s life-saving actions. Krystyna Wilgus received the Citizen Commendation Award for spotting a missing 74-year-old Grayslake woman when she was working at the Gurnee Jewel-Osco.
Wilgus contacted 911 and followed the woman until Gurnee police officers arrived after she received a warning about the missing woman on her cell phone. Deputies Nicholas Sipola and Gregory Oakes received the Sheriff’s Lifesaving Award, and Deputy Dwight Arrowood received the Sheriff’s Commendation Award. The Deputy of the Month Award went to Deputies Steven Espinosa, Ann Mock, Matthew Savage, and Chase Skrzypek.
Sergeant Ari Briskman and Deputies Michael Turkson, Chase Skrzypek, Brandon Eng, Miguel Banuelos, Leonardo Juarez, Robert Rossetti, and Kevin Gauer received the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists Award. Additionally honoured were Commander John Crilly, Senior Deputies Albert Frank and Ronald Brandt, and the Sheriff’s Marine Unit. The Illinois Sheriff’s Association Scholarship winner is Amairani Lucio. In his closing remarks, Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said, “I am honoured and privileged to be part of this amazing organisation with these men and women who do exemplary work every single day.”
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