Four Legged Partner “Dax” Named After 1 Year Old Boy Who Battled Leukemia
Peoria, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) District 08 announced the newest member of its crime fighting Team, K-9 Dax, an elite, 70 pound German Shepherd.
Having completed full service training to detect narcotics, currency, human remains and missing persons, Dax is officially assigned to District 8 Trooper Wes Matarelli. Trooper Matarelli, a trained ISP K-9 handler, was excited to receive his newest partner, who he fondly named Dax. Trooper Matarelli named Dax in honor of the late Dax Locke, a one year old boy from Washington, Illinois, who was diagnosed with AML ML7 leukemia shortly after his first birthday.
Young Dax Locke left a lasting impression on Trooper Materelli because of his strength and courage to live. Locke received treatment at St. Jude Children’s Hospital for his disease until he passed away in December of 2009. Trooper Matarelli has been involved with fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for many years, including running in the St. Jude Run for the last five years.
“When I think of the struggles young Dax was confronted with on a daily basis to stay alive, there’s no greater reminder for me than a canine who is trained to be a courageous and fearless protector,” said D8 Trooper Wes Matarelli. “Dax and I will work side by side to keep communities and roads safe, and will always be reminded of this young boy’s courageous fight for survival,” he added.
Illinois State Police currently have 38 K-9s assigned to units and districts throughout Illinois.
Trooper Wes Matarelli and K-9 Dax with Austin and Julie Locke