Police Officers of the Third Quarter, 2023 – Sgt. Rachel Wright, Pfc. Bo Ennis, Brent VanderZwaag, Ron Thornton & Michael Norby
On July 10, 2023, Sgt. Wright witnessed a vehicle driving with an altered interim license plate. She stopped the vehicle and continued to investigate the plate and driver which was discovered to be altered.
Sgt. Wright gained access to the vehicle and a handgun was located. The driver, a serious felon, was detained. A stolen license plate was also located in the vehicle. Due to the driver being a felon in possession of a firearm, the ATF was contacted. During the interview, the driver admitted to the ownership of the gun and also provided information on at least one unsolved homicide in St. Joseph County.
Sgt. Wright’s work ethic and dedication helped to remove a dangerous weapon from our community and out of the hands of a restricted individual. St. Wright’s attention to detail exemplifies the attributes of a hard-working officer and sets a standard we look for in a Mishawaka Police Officer.
On July 27, 2023, Officer Ennis, along with other officers, responded to a complaint of an individual acting inappropriately toward females at Planet Fitness and appeared as if he was under the influence of narcotics. Medics were called to evaluate the subject and, while being examined, ran to a marked police vehicle and attempted to drive off. Officer Ennis ran to the vehicle, opened the door, verbally giving the subject commands to exit the vehicle. He did not comply with the commands prompting Officer Ennis to deploy his taser striking the subject. The vehicle then started to roll, as the subject had placed the vehicle in neutral. Officer Ennis jumped in the vehicle and activated the brakes, making the scene safe. The subject was then handcuffed and taken to the County Jail.
After reviewing the body camera video, this event could have been a very dangerous situation. The subject would have been fully capable of leaving in the patrol vehicle without the quick actions by Officer Ennis entering the moving vehicle and applying the brakes. This would have certainly resulted in property damage and possible injury to members of the community.
On August 25, 2023, officers were dispatched on a 911 call regarding an injured female who had just been stabbed multiple times by her teenage son. Officers VanderZwaag, Thornton and Norby were the first to arrive. The victim was quickly located and was being attended to by neighbors. The victim had multiple deep stab wounds to her head, arms, neck and torso and bleeding profusely. After instructing neighbors to continue applying pressure to her wounds, Officers VanderZwaag, Thornton and Norby proceeded to her residence a short distance away to locate and arrest her son. The residence was surrounded by the officers. After giving verbal commands, the suspect emerged from the home, covered in blood and armed with a knife. After detaining the son, officers conducted a sweep of the residence and located 2 family dogs that had also been stabbed multiple times, bleeding profusely. The Humane Society came on scene immediately where the dogs were then transported to a local emergency clinic.
With the officer’s quick thinking under pressure and exhibiting their expertise and professionalism led to the successful apprehension of an armed and dangerous individual. Officers VanderZwaag, Thornton and Norby bring excellent credit upon themselves, the MPD and the City of Mishawaka.
On behalf of the department and my administration, I am very proud and honored to present Officers Wright, Ennis, VanderZwaag, Thornton and Norby as “Officers of the Third Quarter” for 2023.