Local News

Trooper Fired; Highway Patrol K-9 Program to Get Review

Posted September 8, 2007
Updated June 5, 2008

— Amid allegations of animal abuse, a trooper was fired, and a complete review of the state's Highway Patrol's K-9 program was ordered.

Sgt. Charles L. Jones, 38, who was in charge of training the Highway Patrol's K-9 unit, was dismissed from the force as of 11 a.m. Sunday, Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

The process to let Jones go moved quickly after Bryan Beatty, the state secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, reviewed videotape of an incident of alleged animal abuse at a training exercise in early August. On Saturday, Clendenin said the dismissal process would be completed by Monday.

The State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into whether Jones violated laws that make it a felony to abuse a law-enforcement animal. Jones, 38, was placed on investigative leave after internal investigators received the recording.

Two other troopers are also under investigation for not reporting the incident: Timmy L. Cardwell, who is stationed in Winston-Salem, and Rodney G. Crater, who is stationed in Asheville.

A third trooper, Ray Herndon, 42, a 21-year veteran, is not under investigation, because he recorded the incident with his cell phone and turned the video in, Clendenin said. The contents of the video are not being released, because it is evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation, Clendenin said.

All four troopers are members of the Highway Patrol's Criminal Interdiction Team, which employs dogs to find drugs.

The dog who was allegedly abused, Ricoh, a Belgian Malinois, has been removed from Jones' care and is being housed in a kennel at the patrol's Training Academy in Raleigh. Ricoh had been Jones' partner for seven years and lived at Jones' home.

As a result of the investigation, Colonel W. Fletcher Clay, commander of the Highway Patrol, ordered a complete review of the force's entire K-9 program. Clay met with patrol command staff met on Friday and developed several plans of action to deal with the allegations of animal abuse and other personnel issues facing the Highway Patrol, Clendenin said

Trooper Michael A. Steele, 28, quit last Sunday after allegations emerged that he stopped a Hispanic couple in Carrboro last month and told the husband he would face immigration violations if he did not leave his wife behind and drive away from the stop.

The week before, the Highway Patrol fired former trooper Scott Harrison, 31, who is accused of profiling young women at night during traffic stops in his Wake County patrol area. Harrison, who said he will appeal the dismissal and has adamantly denied the allegations against him, saying he believes he was fair in his arrests.

Clendenin said the 1,820 sworn troopers, who wrote more than 1 million traffic citations last year, received 165 complaints of misconduct during the same period. Eighty-seven of those resulted in disciplinary actions, ranging from reprimand to termination, he said.

"We have a high standard of conduct that we expect of our troopers," he said earlier this week in response to Steele's resignation. "When they sway off of that, we take quick action. It's not something we're going to tolerate."


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  • bgrass Sep 10, 2007

    I commend the trooper who had the "GUTS" to say something is wrong in the way the dog was treated. Why hurt or mistreat and animal that protects and helps you in your job. One bad apple can reflect on a whole bushel. Thanks to the trooper who is upholding the professionlism of the NCSHP.

  • applesmith Sep 10, 2007

    Hey trixie, how do you know he had the dog in his home for seven years. You must be the one with the phone video. If the general public really knew how police canines were trained they would be crying bloody hell. The DOG IS A TOOL and should be treated as such. just like the sidearm a officer carrys its meant to do a job. Nothing moore nothing less. Animals were put on this earth to be subserviant to humans. If this were not the case then they could feed themselves and clean up behind there on kind. People are running down officers in this blog, then you come do the job put up with attitude of the general public,clean up there mess at wrecks. Explain to the familes why there love ones are dead. Get exsposed to every kinda criminal. No wonder people dont understand us. Been there got the T-shirt and diploma and physical scares to prove it. The general public has a opinion on everything,they dont have clue!!!!!

  • Love my boys Sep 10, 2007

    Putting a dog in a chokehold is deemed appropriate?

  • Love my boys Sep 10, 2007

    I have not seen the video but what was described to me was unwarranted. What did that dog do to this man that warrants that kind of behavior? Nothing! The dog did not attack him, did not charge him or show aggression to his handler or anyone else present. Why treat him like that?

  • saywhaaaaat Sep 10, 2007


  • Polly Sep 10, 2007

    Charles is a good guy. Bottom line. His misfortune was that this idiocy (and I would not exclude him in this format) coincided with other troopers acting like fools. Charles dealt with his dog (which is tantamount to just another weapon for K9 cops) as he deemed appropriate; others who video'd or chose to try to end his career felt differently. The dog is fine; we ain't talking Micheal Vick here.

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Sep 10, 2007

    Glad to see he was fired. The dogs they use for tracking, drugs, and crowd control are wonderful animals. I would hate to know just how long he abused his K9. Sad thing is, if the trooper ever needed to be protected and the dog was around, he would have done his job.....obvisously more loyal than his handler.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Sep 10, 2007

    "The U.S. Supreme Court decided November 28, 2000 that an Indianapolis Police practice of using roadblocks to check cars for illegal drugs using drug-sniffing dogs violated the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches. In a 6 to 3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme court said "We cannot sanction stops justified only by the generalized and ever-present possibility that interrogation and inspection may reveal that any given motorist has committed a crime."

    Drug checkpoints aren't done, so why bring it up?

  • strolling bones Sep 10, 2007

    does anyone know what the partolman did to the dog?

  • strolling bones Sep 10, 2007

    The dog is fine...was never injured, battered or broken. He is fine.

    When you removed a dog from the only home its known for 7 years it is not fine...its very confused...the dog has no concept of what is going on only that is not with its master...think of that...even an abusive master is a master to a dog.