By Matt Getts
ALBION — It’s a question on the mind of most new police officers: How will I do when I am alone and confronted with a violent suspect actively resisting arrest?
Noble County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Whitney D’Angello passed her test Friday night with flying colors.
D’Angello fought with Jakob Kretler, 27, of Avilla for approximately four to five minutes, eventually subduing him until additional officers could arrive on the scene.
Kretler, who is substantially taller and heavier than D’Angello, was booked into the Noble County Jail in Albion on charges of battery to a law enforcement officer, a Level 5 felony; operating while intoxicated with a previous conviction, a Level 6 felony; and resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor.
D’Angello, who lives in rural DeKalb County, suffered some minor bruising and scrapes in the incident, but continued working her shift Friday. She actually worked longer than her eight-hour shifts on Friday and Saturday.
Kretler suffered abrasions and contusions to his forehead during the incident, according to Noble County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Brian Walker. He was checked out at Parkview Noble Hospital, but did not require treatment.
The incident began when D’Angello observed a car driven by Kretler traveling westbound on Baseline Road. The car allegedly went left of center several times before the deputy activated her emergency lights to pull over the vehicle near the intersection of C.R. 800E.
According to Walker, D’Angello observed signs of impairment and asked Kretler to exit his vehicle. Kretler allegedly refused to take any kind of blood-alcohol content test and refused to be placed into custody.
Walker said at one point, Kretler grabbed D’Angello and the fight was on, spilling onto a country road. The closest officer, Deputy Justin Coney, was more than eight miles away when her request for backup was sent out.
By the time Coney arrived, D’Angello had taken Kretler to the ground and had him pinned, Walker said.
D’Angello credited her training with helping her subdue a taller and much heavier suspect.
“There were definitely situations that I remember thinking of my defensive tactics training and what I should do at that point,” she said. “My adrenaline was really pumping.”
Walker, who is a defensive tactics instructor, reviews all use-of-force incidents. He said D’Angello handled herself well.
“She is mentally prepared to handle the job,” Walker said. “A lot of it is just attitude.”
Noble County Sheriff Doug Harp also reviewed the video taken from D’Angello’s police vehicle dash cam.
“She did a great job,” Harp said. “She didn’t hesitate at all.”
Harp said as sheriff, he is constantly worried about his deputies — regardless of gender. Female police officers who work in cities have the advantage of knowing backup is close, but it isn’t that way with county police units.
“In the county, you’re out there on your own,” Harp said.
But he said he knew from watching D’Angello train that she could take care of herself.
“She’s not afraid,” Harp said.
All new deputies, however, have doubts, he said.
“They’re always going to wonder how they’re going to do in that first physical fight,” Harp said. “I know I did.”
“I don’t think anybody knows how they’re going to react in a situation like that,” D’Angello said.
Now she knows. And so does Kretler.