The newest addition to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is a 15-month old German Shepherd who just arrived from Hungary. His name is “K9 Forg” and his moniker is in tribute to fallen Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Forgione. Deputy Forgione was killed in July 2008 while trying to take into custody an individual wanted for mental evaluation.
K9 Forg’s handler, is Deputy Sterling Eslinger.
“I’ve been close to the Forgione family for probably eleven years now. Tony and I got hired at the S.O. the same day and his brother Joey and I worked together at the Niceville Police Department for several years, as long as Joey’s been in law enforcement, so I’ve got a special bond with the family to begin with and to know Tony, you know I’m just honored. I’m honored to have my dog named after him, “said Eslinger.
Joey Forgione added, “I want to thank the Sheriff’s Office; the Sheriff and Undersheriff and all my brothers and sisters – and Sterling. They couldn’t have picked a better handler in Sterling so I want to thank everyone for all the support.”
In coming months, Deputy Eslinger will be training K9 Forg in narcotics detection, tracking, criminal apprehension, and other crime-fighting skills prior to his certification.
Sheriff Larry Ashley, a former K9 handler himself, said the naming of “K9 Forg” was just one more way to show the agency will never forget Deputy Forgione’s service and sacrifice.
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