poam police officer of the yearIn the early morning of February 9, 2020, officers were dispatched to the 600 block of Sheridan Avenue in Saginaw due to a neighborhood disturbance, that eventually escalated into a hostage situation. When Officer Jordan Engelhart arrived on the scene, he went to the home of the complainant to ascertain the details of the disturbance.

Officer Engelhart found that a neighbor was throwing items onto the complainant’s driveway from his second-story window, hitting the complainant’s trailer and vehicle. The complainant continued to explain there was a past incident with the same man. Additionally, he told Officer Engelhart that in the past it took several officers to subdue the suspect and that he was on psychotropic medication. Officer Engelhart also found out the suspect’s partner had prearranged a signal with the complaint that if there was any danger from the suspect, the partner would flip the porch light on and off to notify the neighbors. That morning, the partner had flipped the porch light on and off, and the complainant had seen the signal and called the police.

Officer Engelhart then went to the suspect’s home and attempted to make contact. There was no response. While Officer Engelhart continued to try to make contact, he heard voices inside the home. Officer Engelhart kept hearing someone say, “knock it off” and “…he won’t let me open the door.” When Officer Engelhart asked if the partner was being held against his will, the victim said he was not. The victim continued to say, “knock it off.” At that point, Officer Englehart requested backup.

The victim then was seen at the window south of the front door. The curtain was pulled back, and Officer Engelhart advised him to open the door. The victim replied he could not and that he now was held against his will. At this time, Officer Engelhart requested more back-up and that there was a hostage situation.

Officers Rob Adams and Jordan Engelhart Handled A hostage Situation With K9 Deebo

Not soon after struggles were heard on the other side of the door, Officer Engelhart yanked open the locked storm door and saw the front door was slightly ajar. He saw the victim attempt to leave but was being held by the suspect. With support from fellow officers who had arrived on the scene, Officer Engelhart was able to taser the suspect. The suspect fell to the ground but immediately regained his footing and fled deeper into the home. At least, the officers were able to remove the victim from the residence at this time. The victim revealed the suspect had a large knife. At this point, Officer Englehart requested K9 Officer Rob Adams and his K9 partner, Deebo.

When Officer Adams arrived, he was briefed by Officer Englehart of the situation. Officer Adams put K9 Deebo into his bulletproof vest and pinch collar. Officer Adams made several loud and clear announcements for the suspect to surrender. There was no reply, only a slight movement of the curtains that separated the first-floor rooms and the sound of things being thrown. Officer Adams felt the safest solution was to send Deebo into this large, multilevel home to find the suspect. As K9 Deebo cleared the first room, Officers Adams and Englehart followed behind, all the while Officer Adams yelled out to the suspect to “Get out. Get down on the ground.” The suspect did not comply.

Within moments, both Officer Adams and K9 Deebo spotted the suspect behind the curtains in a small cluttered adjacent room. Officer Adams gave K9 Deebo his apprehension command and he disappeared behind the curtained entrance. Deebo was able to reach the man and bite hold him for 12 seconds. Again, the suspect was told to stop and surrender. The suspect fell to the ground behind a kitchen table that had been turned on its side as a barricade. When Officer Englehart moved the table, both officers witnessed the suspect was now on top of K9 Deebo, who had a knife plunged into his skull. Officer Adams moved quickly to get the suspect off his K9. The suspect still held a knife in his hand and was now in close proximity to stab Officer Adams just as he had done to his K9 partner. Seeing this, Officer Englehart fired at the suspect as he heard Officer Adams also shoot to stop the suspect.

When the situation was contained, Officer Adams removed the knife from Deebo’s head and immediately radioed for medical attention for his dog. Deebo was taken by ambulance to a pet emergency veterinarian clinic and had to have surgery on his head. Miraculously, Officer Deebo has recovered fully from this attack.

Receiving the POAM Officer of the Year Award

Saginaw City Officers Jordan Engelhart, Rob Adams, and K9 Deebo
Saginaw City Officer Jordan Engelhart, POAM Business Agent Dan Kuhn, POAM President Jim Tignanelli, and Officer Rob Adams with K9 Deebo.

If it had not been for the bravery of Officers Englehart, Adams, and K9 Deebo, in addition to the incredible teamwork between the officer and his K9 partner, things would have turned out completely different that winter morning. Most of all, thank goodness K9 Deebo survived the savage attack. For your bravery and exceptional police work, the Police Officers Association of Michigan presents you with the 2020 Police Officers of the Year Awards.

POAM K9 of the Year K9 Deebo from the Saginaw City Police Department
POAM President shows off the K9 of the Year award bowl for K9 Deebo.

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