3 Lake County deputies and a canine cop receive medals of honor
Three Lake County sheriff's deputies and the police dog Dax were recognized with state law enforcement medals of honor at a ceremony Wednesday in Springfield.
Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly presented one of the state's highest honors during the ceremony held for the first time since 2016.
Dax and his handler, Deputy John Forlenza, and Deputy Ray Gilbert received an award for a situation that unfolded in 2018 when they responded to a burglary in progress in Wadsworth.
Two burglars ran as the officers arrived. One was quickly caught, but the second continued running, then stopped and pulled a handgun on one of the deputies, according to Lake County sheriff's Deputy Chief Chris Covelli.
Dax distracted the armed burglar, and Gilbert fired at the man, wounding him. Forlenza and Gilbert aided the wounded gunman until paramedics arrived.
Deputy Thomas Sieber was honored for a 2020 situation in which he and the sheriff's warrants team were conducting an operation to arrest a man wanted for homicide, Covelli said.
As Sieber and other team members approached a home in the Zion area, the man exited a vehicle parked in the driveway and began shooting a handgun at the team. Sieber with McHenry County sheriff's Sgt. Daniel Kramer returned fire, striking the man.
Warrants team members performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Forlenza, Gilbert and Dax were nominated by the Lake County sheriff's office. Sieber was nominated by the McHenry County sheriff's office.
Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg said he was "incredibly proud" of Forlenza, Gilbert, Siever and Dax.
"This heroic group of deputies undoubtedly prevented innocent lives from being lost, while putting their own lives on the line. Congratulations to all four on receiving this deserved, prestigious award," Idleburg said in a news release.
During the ceremony, more than 100 other law enforcement officers received the Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor for their commendable actions during the last several years.