The Oak Lawn Police Department’s K9 unit was started in 1996. The department’s first police service dog was K9 Balt. K9 Balt was a German Shepard from Germany. Balt’s handler was Sgt. Joseph Stubbs. While assisting the DEA, K9 Balt found over 1200 kilos of cocaine hidden inside large cardboard boxes of carrots. That discovery lead to the seizure of over $5 million in cash. After a successful career K9 Balt was retired in the fall of 2004 due to health reasons.
K9 Ajax was the department’s second police service dog. K9 Ajax is also a German Shepard from Germany. K9 Ajax was trained at Landheim Kennels in Indiana . He served Oak Lawn from July of 2001 to 2008. K9 Ajax’s handler was Ofc. Dan Vittorio. K9 Ajax has helped locate several offenders and has assisted the department’s Tactical Unit in locating narcotics.
The third addition to the unit is K9 Dante. K9 Dante is a Belgian Malinois. K9 Dante and his handler Officer Gerald Vetter graduated from the Cook County K9 Training Academy in July of 2006. K9 Dante served Oak Lawn till October 22, 2013 when he passed away from illness.
The fourth addition to the unit is K9 Lucifer. K9 Lucifer is a Belgian Malinois from the Czech Republic. His handler was Ofc. Steve McNeela. Lucifer retired in 2017.
Our latest K9 is Edo.K9 Edo is a Belgian Malinois also from the Czech Republic. His handler was Ofc. Finbar Haran. They started serving the department since 2014. Edo retired in 2018
All dogs are trained as “Dual Purpose” service dogs. This means that as well as detecting drugs, the dogs can also track both suspected criminals and lost people, search an area or building foe hidden suspects, and protect their handler.
The K9 officers also enjoy getting out and meeting the public with their dogs. You can see them at village fests and block parties.
For More information on police service dogs check out the following web site: