OFFICER DOUG BUELTEL
EVANSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT (INDIANA)
On 12/19/19 at approximately 1342 hrs. Officer N. Hassler attempted to stop a white Olds Aurora. The driver refused to stop and fled from Officers in a vehicle. The vehicle stopped in an alley then the driver got out and fled on foot. Patrol Officers set up a perimeter. K-9 Officer Doug Bueltel was working an off-duty job and responded with his K-9 partner K-9 Gero. Officer Bueltel then deployed K-9 Gero on a 15-foot tracking lead and harness. Bueltel yelled a K-9 warning and Gero began tracking from the area of the car west in the alley. Gero went west and then pulled into an open garage then into the back yard of residence. Gero then went towards the residence and to the side door. Gero wanted to go through the door. Bueltel cast Gero around the front of the house and to the east and west, but didn’t pick up anything else. Bueltel was confident that the suspect went into residence.
Bueltel called Officers to the residence to make contact while he watch the rear of the house. Nobody answered the door. Other information was developed and video was checked at a local gas station to confirm the identity of the suspect which led to Officer Hassler getting a search warrant. Due to the suspects past violent criminal history SWAT was called in. At 1601, the female resident exited the house. The female resident said that she had been sleeping and didn’t know what was going on and stated she didn’t believe anyone else was in her residence. The search warrant was signed at 1651 hrs. SWAT deployed gas into the house. A throw-bot was deployed inside the house to try and clear the open areas.
At 1751 hrs. K-9 Gero was deployed into the residence on a 30-ft line. Gero cleared methodically room by room while on a 30 ft. lead. Gero then went out of site into the front bedroom. Gero began to bark and it sounded like he was jumping up which indicated that the suspect was in the attic. As Gero was barking, Bueltel advised the team leader that they could proceed inside the residence and clear up to where Gero was as he was indicating the guy was inside. SWAT cleared everything on the main floor. In the front bedroom, SWAT noticed insulation and debris under the opening for the attic access. A crawl space access was located, but when it was accessed, there appeared to be some cobwebs. K-9 Gero searched and cleared the crawl space.
Another gas canister was deployed into the attic around 1820 hrs. Within about 1-2 minutes, the suspect punched out the roof vent on the east side of the residence to try and get fresh air and surrender. A ladder was retrieved and the suspect crawled through the small vent and down the ladder where he was placed in custody around 1830 hrs. The suspect was cleaned up and later transported to the jail where he was charged with multiple charges and his outstanding warrants.
This was an exceptional deployment by NINE year old K-9 Gero. What started as a vehicle pursuit lead to the suspect being located inside the attic of a house that was some distance away from where the vehicle stopped. A job well done by all involved.
Sergeant Jason Thomas