Polk County Sheriff’s Office Canine DiOGi has been nominated for the American Kennel Club Award of Canine Excellence (ACE Award) in the Law Enforcement Dog category, and for the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, Blanche Beisswenger Memorial Hero Dog Award, and Service Dog category.
The AKC ACE award is the most prestigious nationally recognized award for a dog that has demonstrated exemplary service in one of five different categories. The categories are: Law Enforcement Dog, Search and Rescue Dog, Therapy Dog, Service Dog, and Exemplary Companion Dog. Only one award is given out each year for each category. The award will be presented in December during the nationally televised AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.
In 1982-83, in an effort to bring awareness to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, or GSDCA, Blanche Beisswenger, who served for 42 years as Corresponding Secretary, proposed a Hero Dog Award.
On September 28, 2006, DiOGi, a Polk County Sheriff’s Office K-9, demonstrated his unyielding loyalty and commitment by giving his life to protect Deputy Sheriff Vernon Matthew “Matt” Williams. Both Matt and DiOGi were killed by Angilo Freeland who had fled into a wooded area near Kathleen High School in Lakeland after a routine traffic stop.
DiOGi was a four year old pure bred sable colored German Shepherd Dog eligible for registration according to AKC criteria. During his career, DiOGi participated in 111 documented operations some of which included locating lost children and adults, assisting in fugitive apprehensions, recovering stolen property, and scenting illegal/controlled substances.
DiOGi performed with Honor and Distinction, not only for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and his partner/handler, Deputy Sheriff Vernon “Matt” Williams, but to his breed.
On Tuesday, May 1, 2007, DiOGi was awarded the Canine Medal of Distinction, posthumously, during the PCSO Annual Awards Ceremony. Deputy Williams’ wife, Nancy, accepted the award on behalf of Matt’s family.