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Fired trooper should be reinstated, judge rules

Posted June 5, 2008
Updated June 6, 2008

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— An administrative court judge says a former Highway Patrol trooper who lost his job after being accused of abusing his K-9 should be reinstated with back pay and attorney's fees. (Agree with the judge's ruling?)

Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred G. Morrison was also critical of the state agency, saying it has no approved or disapproved training techniques for which handlers should comply.

Former Sgt. Charles Jones was fired Sept. 8 after another trooper turned over two 15-second video clips of Jones suspending his K-9 partner, Ricoh, from a railing and kicking the dog repeatedly to force it to release a chew toy.

In his decision, issued Thursday, Morrison said the Highway Patrol did not give "meaningful consideration" to Jones' responses to the charges against him. (Read Morrison's decision.)

"(The) Respondent has not met the burden of persuading me by the greater weight of the evidence presented that it had just cause, procedurally and substantively, to terminate Petitioner's employment," Morrison wrote.

Jones' case now goes before the North Carolina State Personnel Commission, which will determine whether Jones will be reinstated.

Jones sued the Highway Patrol to regain his job, claiming he was fired only because Gov. Mike Easley's office pressured the state agency to get rid of him – an allegation the Highway Patrol denies.

"We're surprised. We believe this agency did the right thing, based on the investigation, based on the video. "And we stand by that decision that we made," spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said Thursday.

Evidence presented at a hearing on the matter in April showed the Patrol had planned to punish Jones with a maximum three-day suspension.

Jones claimed he was unfairly singled out because the Highway Patrol was receiving unwanted attention for trooper misconduct and because of publicity surrounding pro-football player Michael Vick's arrest on dog-fighting charges.

He testified he was following the Highway Patrol's training techniques and was doing only what was necessary to train Ricoh, a particularly aggressive dog that required extra training.

Morrison observed in his decision that handlers' training stressed obedience and control and that troopers were told "to rule with an iron fist" and that "when your dog is not performing, bust his ass" and do whatever works to discipline their dogs.

"My final conclusion is that the State of North Carolina forego the future use of dogs such as Ricoh for law enforcement purposes, unless it purchases fully trained canines to be handled by fully trained troopers who are given specific written compliance techniques."

Bryan Beatty, secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, suspended K-9 operations following testimony from Jones' hearing.

He said he was disturbed by evidence that some troopers thought kicking a dog was acceptable training and that testimony about "abusing dogs to get compliance" was inconsistent with an independent review of the K-9 program following Jones' termination in September.

"Dog experts say Trooper Jones conduct was completely unacceptable," Easley said in a statement. "If the state has to resort to that level of cruelty to train dogs demonstrated in the video by Trooper Jones, then they (Highway Patrol) will simply not be in the dog business."


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  • Adelinthe Jun 6, 2008

    "And therin lies the problem. Dogs dont equal humans."

    You just keep thinking that, because that thinking is exactly why the world is so screwed up.

    We're no better and no less than any other being that draws breath on this planet.

    "And therin lies the" TRUTH. Until we get that through to the egotistical gray matter that lies between our ears, nothing will ever get better on this planet - only worse. God help us!!!

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Jun 6, 2008

    Admiral - One does not demand and receive respect; that's just fear. One EARNS and receives real respect.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

    USMC Sergeant


    Semper Fi!!!

  • Adelinthe Jun 6, 2008

    "Police dogs are nothing more than a tool like a radar, firearm, Asp baton or flashlight."


    You're kind of sentiment is exactly why some are mistreated. They may be tools, but no more so than the officer themselves. And which officer would be ok with being treated like this "tool" was? NONE! Right?

    They draw breath, and have hearts and minds, and like all living things, they deserve respect and good treatment.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • ratherbnnc Jun 6, 2008

    nd therin lies the problem. Dogs dont equal humans. More people need to realize that. Police dogs are nothing more than a tool like a radar, firearm, Asp baton or flashlight. Once people understand that, everyone can move on with their lives and let Sgt. Jones move on with his.

    Amen to that! And hopefully everyone will realize this story was originally about the way the State handled the firing of Sgt Jones and the Judges Ruling. Had nothing to do with the animal. Gossip masters at work!

  • rlt197131 Jun 6, 2008

    And therin lies the problem. Dogs dont equal humans. More people need to realize that. Police dogs are nothing more than a tool like a radar, firearm, Asp baton or flashlight. Once people understand that, everyone can move on with their lives and let Sgt. Jones move on with his.

  • ljcs357 Jun 6, 2008

    Since dogs=humans, looks like assault to me. Fire him and throw him in prison for a year or so.

  • ratherbnnc Jun 6, 2008

    What do you do? Give me a common sense answer as it relates to police K9s.

    Your post and question make perfect sense to me! It seems that other posts on here would rather you say to a vicious dog and one that is trained to be vicious to maybe say " Okay Rover! Please drop the chew toy and give it to daddy like a nice little doggie"

  • TheAdmiral Jun 6, 2008

    Hoddiditgettothis -

    Your nick name says it all. How did we get to this? I can tell you. People inject their opinion as to what is abuse and what is not. Guess what. Opinions are like those holes that god pout in between the cheeks - everyone's got one.

    And guess what? 99.999% of opinions are wrong. 100% of the facts are right.

    If it is not considered abuse by a majority, then guess what? The only people who will walk away unhappy are the ones who will argue that pulling a tick of a dog is also abuse.

    There is no place in society for minority extremist facism. Get over it and roll on.

  • TheAdmiral Jun 6, 2008

    "The junior HS where I taught had quite a few 'kids' who were a lot older than 14, larger and definitely dangerous"

    There has never been a 14-18 year old who was bigger than me who did not respect me.

    I demand respect. You can not demand respect and not have the firepower to back it up. If you show them respect and trust, it comes back to you. If you treat them all like cattle, you will get the respect you deserve as a farmer - a kick in the groin.

  • bulls41 Jun 6, 2008

    "In both cases, the person abuses the animal to get the desired result." howdiditgettothis

    Vick desired result: Kill another animal in a fighting ring to make money on the bet, plus the enjoyment of watching animals savagely tear each other apart.

    Jones desired result: To not have his K9 hurt a suspect for more than what was necessary and bring a law suit against the state for excessive force. Not to mention the consuming of narcotics which could kill the K9.

    Again your "logic" has skewed into ridiculous and not real life.