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Boone County Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Dallas Wingate, K9 Bandit
On 10-23-16 at about 10:30pm I was contacted by my dispatch center regarding a vehicle chase in progress and they requested assistance as they believed that the subject would flee on foot once they stopped the car. While preparing to leave I was contacted again and advised that the subject had in fact fled on foot when his car had run off the roadway. They also advised that one of our deputies had also wrecked.
It took approximately 30 minutes for me to arrive on scene in a heavily wooded area near the Des Moines River. Immediately on my arrival I knew that this area was extremely difficulty to traverse due to a number of very deep ravines which feed the river. I met with my backup officer and told him that this would be a very difficult track. We had the benefit of a very solid perimeter however and after hooking up K9 Bandit we entered the woods at the location of the vehicle in the ditch. We were immediately faced with a sheer drop into a ravine approximately 50 feet down. On reaching the bottom of the cut Bandit located a track which lead directly up the other side approximately 70 feet. On reaching the top of this side we tracked across a fairly level area which was covered with small cedar trees and high grass.
At the south edge of this area we again entered the edge of the woods and Bandit, my backup officer and I were forced to crawl under a series of cedar trees which led directly back into another ravine. On reaching the bottom we were led along the bottom of the creek for some distance and then up yet another steep incline and then directly back down into the ravine on the other side. This time we went upstream over large rocks stumps and fallen trees to the intersection of another creek. We entered this creek and again went up stream some distance. Suddenly Bandit stopped and pulled something out from under a stump and began to shake it back and forth. Initially I believed that he had the subject by the leg however on calling him back he brought me a pair of jeans.
I recovered these and handed them to my backup officer and recast Bandit to continue searching. He continued upstream for a short distance then went up the incline to the top where we found ourselves on a fairly flat but extremely brushy table. In the distance about 75 yards away through the trees I could see a yard light. I advised the perimeter officers that we were approaching a house to the west of the initial crash scene by radio and continued to track.
Shortly we reached a fence around the homestead and crossed into the yard. We then tracked across the yard approximately 50 yards to a large pole building. On reaching the corner of the building we observed an open walk in door and Bandit entered the door and stopped briefly, however in this moment I noted a distinct change in his demeanor and posture which to me indicated that he believed the subject to be inside the building. I advised my backup officer that I thought the subject was inside as Bandit pulled me inside the door.
After clearing a small unfinished room we entered the main open area of the building and turned to our left. In this area the only thing in the building was a small trailer made from an old pickup bed. The tongue of this trailer was on the floor and the rear of the trailer was up in the air. As we approached I noted that Bandit began to prance somewhat and I could tell that he was indicating very fresh scent in this area. He approached the trailer and jumped up on his back legs and looked inside the bed. There was nothing inside, he then looked under the rear of the trailer and as he did so simply from his body language I could tell he saw the subject, he then began to bark. I pulled him back to the front of the trailer and the subject was engaged by my backup officer and ordered out from under the trailer. The subject refused for some time until I approached with Bandit on the other side of the trailer and ordered him out stating that I would send the dog under the trailer to bring him out if he did not comply. At this point the subject reluctantly chose to come out from under the trailer and he was taken into custody.
In addition to charges relating to our chase, OWI and drug possession the subject was wanted on several felony warrants from Colorado for similar issues, assault on peace officers and motor vehicle theft.
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Des Moines Police Department, Officer Miller and K9 Bello
I was dispatched to the 1200 blk of 10th street to assist with K9 Bello for a track. Prior to this, a robbery of an individual occurred at the Git n Go on Keo. Possible suspect left in a dark colored sedan which was later found by Officer Johnson. Officer Johnson attempted to pull over this suspect vehicle in the 1200 blk of 10th. The suspect vehicle pulled into a driveway and the driver bailed on foot. Driver was a black male wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt with a grey colored stocking hat. Officer Johnson relayed the plate information to dispatch and it was found that the vehicle was stolen.
A perimeter was then set up to prepare for a track with K9 Bello. I deployed K9 Bello from the squad car and directed him to the suspect vehicle. Bello quickly identified the odor and engaged onto the track. Here I announced my K9 warning several times and nobody made themselves known. Bello began to track West bound through the yards and back East. Bello tracked through several yards and crossed over several allies before coming to an alley between 12th street and 13 street. I observed K9 Bello track to a privacy fence that was in the backyard of 1326 12th street. K9 Bello began to jump onto the fence very aggressively, attempting to jump over the 6ft wooden fence. At this time I heard someone on the other side of the fence begin to run through the brush. I ran and directed K9 Bello to the south side of this fence where I could see a black male wearing a dark colored hoody and a grey stocking hat, running east bound down the driveway. I announced my warning again for him to stop or he would be bitten by the dog. This person stopped immediately and put his hands in the air. Suspect was ordered to the ground and begging not to be bitten by the dog. Once he was on the ground, Officer Cerne placed this suspect into custody without incident. K9 Bello was then returned to the squad car and secured. I attempted to speak to the suspect about the track but he was uncooperative. I was later notified that the suspect found by K9 Bello, is the same suspect seen on video of the Robbery at Git n Go. Also, the same suspect that ran from the stolen car.
Crawford County Iowa, Lt. Deputy Cory Utech and K9 Bayou
On October 19th, 2016 I was northbound on US Highway 39 in Crawford County, Iowa. I observed a vehicle approaching me that failed to dim their headlights. As the vehicle passed, I observed a license plate light that appeared to be hanging in front of the license plate, and decided to turn around on the vehicle. Once I had caught up to the vehicle, I ran the registration from my MDT, and the registration came back expired. The license plate had a current registration sticker on it, which led to suspicions that the vehicle may be using the plates falsely. The vehicle, with knowledge that I was behind it, turned into the Ampride Truck Plaza, and led me to believe that they were trying to evade any interaction with me. I went around the block to prevent them from exiting from any other driveways to the plaza. The driver saw me and pulled up to a gas pump. I pulled next to the male (only occupant), and began an investigation about the expired plates.
The driver explained to me that it was a recent purchase. During my investigation of the plates, I observed several indicators that other criminal activity may be afoot. The driver’s demeanor was extremely nervous, which is inconsistent with other encounters that I have experienced in the past. He had blood shot eyes and his clothing was very disorderly. His stories were very inconsistent, and there were a lot of items just thrown about the vehicle including US Currency. I observed a 2 pack of cigar wrappers in the vehicle, which is consistent in my experience, with marijuana usage, and a butane torch lighter (also consistent with drug usage).
The driver had no documentation to prove ownership of the vehicle or his identity. Through a records check with dispatch, he was identified and his driver’s status was suspended.
I deployed K9 Bayou based on the reasonable articulable suspicions that arose during my investigation that led to the second detention. I started the K9 Sniff from the passenger rear corner, and worked in a counter-clockwise pattern around the vehicle. K9 Bayou immediately provided an alert to the odor of controlled substances coming from the vehicle. The alert was identified by her change in breathing, she was bracketing the odor, her ears were forward, she was attempting to get to source odor, and she provided a final indication by sitting at the passenger door of the vehicle.
A search was conducted of the vehicle, which led to the seizure of 2.5 ounces of methamphetamine, 12.2 grams of marijuana, packaging materials, a magnetic lock box, a glass methamphetamine bong, and $1,417.00 in US Currency.
The driver was formally charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine (Class B), Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana (Class D), Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp (Class D), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Simple). Bond was set at $100,000.00.
Waterloo Police Department, Officer Bovy and K9 Niko
On August 23, 2016 Officer Bovy and his K9 partner responded to the FedEx Express for narcotics package sniffs. While running packages Niko alerted to the odor of narcotics on a package being sent from Waterloo to Colorado. A search warrant was obtained and inside the package was in excess of $25,000 cash.
As a result of this search warrant and case seizure, additional search warrants were obtained connected with this package. As a result of these search warrants 7 guns (6 handguns, 1 Rifle AR15) were seized, approximately 1 pound of marijuana and an additional $100,000.00 cash was seized.
If it weren’t for K9 Nikos alert on the fed ex package, the warrants at the additional locations wouldn’t have been possible and we wouldn’t have been able to make all the seizures.
Marshalltown Police Department, K9 Raji
On 5/5/2016, the Marshalltown SWAT team assisted with the execution of a search warrant at a residence in Marshalltown. This search warrant was part of a federal investigation with the FBI and they were being assisted by the Mid Iowa Drug Task Force. The SWAT team made forced entry into the residence and occupants were taken into custody without incident.
I deployed my USPCA certified dog, K-9 Raji, into the residence to conduct a drug search. I deployed K9 Raji into the bedroom of the residence. Raji showed immediate response to the odor of drugs inside the room. I observed his nose raise in the air and noticed a head snap toward the bed. K9 Raji moved directly to the bed and began taking deep breaths through his nose from under the bed. After examining, K9 Raji went into final response by sitting and staring at the bed. An “under the bed” style container was located with a small amount of drugs and paraphernalia.
K9 Raji checked the living room, bathroom and closet with no responses noted. We then went into the kitchen where I again noticed a response to drug odor. K9 Raji’s nose went up in the air again and he began checking the kitchen cupboards. He worked the seams of the cupboards. He moved past the cupboards and checked the stove, but then immediately turned and went back to the cupboards. He worked back and forth before giving a strong head snap toward one specific cupboard door. K9 Raji squared off to the door and continued to examine it before going into final response by sitting and starring at the cupboard.
Upon hand search in the area, a hidden compartment was found inside the cupboard that would have likely been missed during the hand search. There was as false floor in the cupboard that lifted up. A hole had been cut under the false floor for ease of access to the compartment. Located inside the hidden compartment was $92,902 cash along with 1,544.2 grams of meth (ice) .
Des Moines Police Department, Officer Ballantini, K9 Titan
During my tour of duty District 3 Officers were sent to QT, 4024 Fleur Dr., on a James Overton Jr. who was allegedly holding his girlfriend hostage at the QT. Dispatch stated the victim was inside the QT who was on the phone with her mother who in turn was relaying this information to dispatch. Additionally, the victim stated Overton was armed with a knife. Upon Officers Hickey and Rhoads arrival, Overton fought with Officers and subsequently bit Officer Hickey on his arm and fled on foot. Officer Rhoads then gave chase over Wakonda View Dr. and behind Francies Bar & Grill. A short time after this Officer Rhoades lost sight of Overton near the south side of Air Lanes Bowling. I then told Officers to setup a perimeter in anticipation of a K9 track. Upon my arrival Officer Maxwell pointed out to me where Overton had lost a shoe and his tank top.
Before retrieving my K9 Titan I gave a loud and clear K9 warning as there was a wooded area to the west of the bowling alley. I then retrieved K9 Titan and put him on a 15’ lead and brought him to Overton’s clothing items. I then presented those items to K9 Titan and instructed him to zook (track). K9 Titan immediately began to track through Francies parking lot and into the bowling alley parking lot. Once we reached the bowling alley parking lot K9 Titan started to drift towards the edge of the building, still continuing southbound. As we reached the end of the building K9 Titan immediately turned to the east and pulled hard to the south doors of the bowling alley. I then brought K9 Titan inside the bowling alley and he began to track to east. As we approached the game room K9 Titan executed a head snap a brought me into the corner of the game room. As I looked around to see what odor K9 Titan was alerting to I observed a missing ceiling tile above one of the games in the corner. However, upon further inspection I observed there to be cobwebs in the area of the missing ceiling tile indicating the suspect did not go into the ceiling from this area.
I then spoke with staff, patrons and other Officers who indicated nobody came into the bowling alley and that they had checked the building. I then had K9 Titan along with Officers Rhoads and Maxwell check the attic/ceiling area with no indications. We then exited the bowling alley and worked our way to the southwest and then back to the northeast where the wooded area was. K9 Titan was not in odor and gave no indications that he was on a track.
I then brought K9 Titan back to the bowling alley parking lot again. K9 Titan began to pull the lead hard with his nose down. I knew that K9 Titan was again in scent and took us back to the same south doors of the bowling alley. I then told all perimeter officers to lock down the outside of the bowling alley while we searched it again.
I had Officer Peterson review surveillance videos of this entrance which did show Overton entering through said south doors and then turn around once he made it into the business. This area where Overton turned around led to a hallway that contained the rear of the bowling lanes themselves and also led to the attic/ceiling area. As we were going down the hallway Officer Peterson opened a maintenance closet that contained large air duct, but did lead to a false ceiling area. I then brought K9 Titan in there and I observed him to immediately be in odor and put his nose in the air, indicating Overton was more than likely in an elevated position. K9 Titan then jumped up and put his front paws/legs on the air duct that was sitting on a concrete base. K9 Titan then began to bark loudly indicating to me Overton was close by. I then pulled K9 Titan out this area as there was no possible way he could fit between the air duct and the wall.
Officer Peterson then went into the closet and was able to spot Overton hiding in the ceiling area. Overton refused to come out when being commanded to do so. Officer Peterson then discharged her taser at Overton in an attempt to get him to comply. After the taser discharged Overton could be heard and seen (by falling debris) running through the ceiling area. I then took K9 Titan, along with Officer Rhoads back up to the attic/ceiling area where we could hear commotion. I then observed Overton running on narrow catwalk above the ceiling area. I then gave my K9 warning loud and clear and told Overton to stop running or he would get bit. Overton then stepped off the catwalk area and laid down on the attic rafters/insulation. I then pulled K9 Titan back as it appeared Overton was starting to comply. Due to the unstableness of the ceiling and Overton claiming to be hurt it took several minutes to take him into custody and bring him back to the catwalk. However, Overton was taken into custody without force.
I then removed K9 Titan from the ceiling and secured him back in our patrol car. I attempted to interview Overton regarding my K9 track and him hearing my K9 commands, however Overton was uncooperative and refused to talk to me. Upon reviewing the layout of the bowling alley I learned there was a false ceiling which was where Overton was initially hiding. It was apparent that Overton was walking between the ceiling tiles thus pushing odor out from the open ceiling tile in the game room. Overton was eventually able to gain access to the attic area where he was later apprehended.
Overton was subsequently brought to Broadlawns Medical Center for injuries he incurred while hiding in the ceiling and for allegedly swallowing a bag of methamphetamine. I spoke with Overton at the Broadlawns and asked him if he was actually struck by the taser. Overton stated one of the barbs struck his foot and that he ripped it out. Upon being evaluated by medical staff there was no injury to his foot to indicate he was struck by a taser. Photographs were taken of Overton’s injuries by Unit 361.
Both Overton and the victim were interviewed by detectives regarding this incident. As a result of this Overton was charged with Domestic Abuse with a Weapon, Domestic Abuse causing Bodily Injury, Neglect or Abandonment of a Dependent Person (x4), Assault on a Peace Officer (x2), Interference with Official Acts and Criminal Mischief 2nd.