Deputy brings experience, K9 to jail

Roaming the halls of the Clark County Detention Center is a most unusual deputy.

Every day, K9 Knight and his handler Deputy Mike Eggleton drive in from Montgomery County to work at the jail.

“He’s become quite the presence in the jail,” Eggleton said. “He’s one of the most respected deputies here.

“In the streets one K9 is worth about 10 officers. I can walk in one cell with him and have no worries about making it to the other side of the room.”

Both started at the jail in 2018 after they both retired from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, he said. Eggleton is a long-time K9 narcotics officer, beginning at the Detroit Police Department in 1992.

“When I started at Detroit, we had six dog teams,” he said. “When I graduated and started working with them on the road, I became fascinated.”

Eggleton said he spent a year hanging around the K9 academy soaking up everything he could about the program and working with K9s. After he had been on the force for five years, a K9 position became available, he applied and received the assignment. That’s where he stayed at the Detroit Police Department, before leaving in 2007.

Though Eggleton was born and raised in Detroit, his parents are from Pike County and he regularly returned to visit his grandparents.

“I always said when I could retire from Michigan, I’d come here,” he said. “Before I knew it, I met Tommy Parker who worked at the (Montgomery County) sheriff’s office. I met the sheriff. I was bored and went back to work.”

Knight is Eggleton’s third K9, and was allowed to keep him after retiring from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Working at the jail was another opportunity through people he knew.

“I needed to do something,” Eggleton said. “(Chief Deputy Jailer Justin) Crockett and I go back years. I said, ‘Give me something to do.’ The dog was already paid for and trained.”

After going through a recertification program with their trainer with jail work in mind, they started working in Winchester.

“It’s good for him and its good for me,” Eggleton said.

Working within the facility is much different than working in the streets.

“We’re not finding pounds (of narcotics),” he said. “We’re finding minuscule amounts.”

Knight, as Eggleton said, commands quite a presence. Often, it takes little more than a growl or a few barks from Knight before an prisoner will comply with deputies’ commands, he said. The only time Knight will bite without a command is to protect Eggleton, he said.

Knight is a German shepherd, bred in Europe as a work dog and imported to the United States. He also has a herding mentality, whether its visitors and prisoners in the jail or Eggleton’s family at home.

Eggleton likened Knight to a retractable bullet.

“We can call him back before he makes contact,” he said. “If you comply, no dog bite. If you don’t comply, you’re going to get bitten.”

If necessary, Eggleton said Knight could enter a cell on a leash and bring the non-compliant prisoner out, without deputies entering the cell.

After 25 years working on the road, Eggleton said he’s gained a new perspective working in corrections. He’s still trying to fight narcotics and illegal drugs. Instead of getting them off the streets, it’s helping those facing charges to hopefully find a different path.

“I saw I can make a difference in here,” he said. “I have no problems talking to anyone. If I can make a difference somewhere, that’s what I want to do. (Clark County Jailer Frank Doyle) and Crockett gave us that opportunity here.

“Here I have the opportunity to have an exchange (with a prisoner). How do I get better? What do I do? That’s rehabilitation.”