Local News

Highway Patrol starts new canine program

Posted June 11, 2009

— Six months after it dissolved its old canine program amid criticism of dog welfare, the North Carolina Highway Patrol has implemented a new one with new dogs and new handlers.

Canine program has new dogs, trainers Canine program has new dogs, handlers

Patrol spokesman Capt. Everett Clendenin said Thursday that six Labrador retrievers had been paired with freshly trained troopers. Clendenin says the patrol is using Labs because they are better at detecting drugs, which is the dogs' primary duty.

"We're not there to have an attack dog, or a dog that conducts searchers. We're there simply to remove narcotics off the highway,” Clendenin said.

Clendenin says shepherd breeds that had been used in the past aren't needed anymore because they are no longer used for pursuits and protection.

The patrol disbanded its canine unit in December after incidents raised concerns about treatment of the dogs. A video showed Trooper Charles Jones kicking his dog, which wasn't injured. Jones was fired and his dog, Ricoh, was given early retirement.

"This is the final step in closing the door on the stuff that happened a year ago," Sgt. Charles Joyner said.

"We have learned some things from it and we believe we have got one of the best programs now in the nation," Clendenin said.


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  • retired and luv it Jun 11, 2009

    more toys for the boys

  • WHEEL Jun 11, 2009

    Good idea. Every other State agency is being forced to cut spending while the Infamos Highway Patrol can institute a new program.

  • maddie Jun 11, 2009

    I hope the trooper behavior with these dogs is closely monitored. Some good ole boys still think that a dog can be kicked, etc. to get attention. I hope that proper training techniques will be followed and any violations whatsoever will be reported.

  • anothersmallbusinessman Jun 11, 2009

    What everyone doesn't know or understand is that the real police dogs (Malinois or Sheperds) actually SAVED lives. There are countless untold stories about the numerous times these dogs have saved the lives of their handlers and the public because they WERE aggressive.
    Everyone is quick to complain until they actually need them.

  • urbizn Jun 11, 2009

    .............use these dogs to sniff out corruption in high places!

    That's why they chose labs.....so Wilson, Hatcher, Castelloe, and other NCSHP brass would not get eaten alive by a Malinois when the K9s visit HP headquarters!

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Jun 11, 2009

    ldparker76 - Yes they have a great relationship with their handlers and they are by no means attack dogs or crowd control, but for drug/tracking they are great.

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Jun 11, 2009

    They are great trackers and drug dogs. Training is easily maintained. By the way hubby, if you read this, don't you want another :0) Tucker was awesome if I can say so myself!

  • ldparker76 Jun 11, 2009

    I think it's kind of sad to see German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois replaced by labs. While they are great, easily trainable dogs - They lack the reputation of being police working dogs and I think will end up being more like pets to these Troopers.

  • Tater Salad Jun 11, 2009

    Oh labs are great dogs. I had a friend in college who taught his lab to open the fridge door by pulling on a sock he tied around the handle of the fridge door and to bring him a beer!!

    What's scary is the number of troopers (especially on GOLO) who defended Jones' actions and still to this day defend them.

    I work with a guy who retired from the DMV (driver's license instructor) for 30 years. The stories he can tell of the highway patrol getting away with stuff would make your ears bleed!

  • TechRescue Jun 11, 2009

    Hold on there, Tater....

    Labs are a totally different animal than a Malinois or a Sheperd. #1, they don't respond at all to the kind of "training" SHP got nailed with on video - all you'll wind up with is a useless and submissive punching bag. #2, the kind of person that believes in those training methods would never train a Lab - because, dumb as they are, they know it won't work and besides they wouldn't be caught dead with such a docile animal.

    Maybe the Labs can sniff out that year's worth of missing travel records....