Davis police dog, Jak, subdues knife-wielding man

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 10:40 AM

Jasen Asay

FRUIT HEIGHTS — A knife-wielding man wanted by law enforcement thought he was prepared for officers entering his house, but he was not expecting to see Jak come through his bathroom door.

The 5-year-old, 80-pound Belgian Malinois, who is a member of the Davis County Sheriff Office’s K-9 Unit, subdued Jeffrey Paul Ellis, 27, until officers could safely enter the house and take him into custody Saturday.

Ellis was arrested for felony warrants dealing with possession of a controlled substance and domestic violence.

When officers arrived at Ellis’ Fruit Heights home, they found out Ellis was not going to be taken in easily.

“He told a witness that he had a knife and he intended to use it if law enforcement came after him,” said Davis Sheriff’s Sgt. Susan Poulsen. “The witness told that to the officers.”

So K-9 handler Deputy Jeremy Varela announced three times that he was sending the crime-fighting dog into the house, a procedure handlers are required to follow before releasing their canine.

Varela yelled that Ellis would be bitten if he did not willingly come out of the house.

When Ellis did not answer, Jak was sent into the house.

“Jak found him in the shower and bit the suspect on the arm, causing him to drop his knife,” Poulsen said.

Officers then took Ellis to the hospital for treatment of the minor injury he suffered when Jak bit him. After Ellis was released from the hospital, he was taken to jail.

Jak, who has been with the sheriff’s office for 2 1⁄2 years, wears a safety vest when he enters a home.

The vest is bulletproof and can withstand stabbings, Poulsen said.

“He did exactly what he was trained to do,” Poulsen said of Jak.

“When we know that someone has made these kinds of threats, we’re glad we have the option to keep our officers safe.”

Ellis is scheduled for a Feb. 14 felony arraignment.

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