NC trooper fired for dog treatment is back at work

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 2, 2012

RALEIGH (AP) — A state Highway Patrol trooper who was fired after a video showed him kicking his canine partner and hoisting it by the neck returned to work today in a position that doesn’t require him to have a dog.
Sgt. Charles Jones returned to work in the Highway Patrol’s special operations section with the accident reconstruction unit, patrol spokesman and 1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon said.
Jones was dismissed in 2007 on the orders of then-Gov. Mike Easley after video clips surfaced showing the trooper hoisting his dog off the ground and kicking him five times. Jones had worked with the Apex Police Department for about four years, Chief Jack Lewis said Monday. His last day with the department was late last week.
In February, the state Court of Appeals upheld a judge’s ruling that Jones be reinstated with back pay. In that November 2010 ruling, Superior Court Judge James Hardin Jr. said Jones’ actions weren’t among the training techniques specifically approved by the Highway Patrol, but they were no worse that the agency’s accepted methods.
Hardin said the Highway Patrol’s dog training methods included whipping dogs, hitting them with sticks, and using choke collars and stun guns.
Two 15-second video clips showed the training coordinator for the agency’s K-9 unit suspending his dog from a railing and kicking him to force him to drop a chew toy. Jones said he was training the dog to obey.
The State Personnel Commission and an administrative law judge had determined previously the patrol didn’t follow state law when they fired Jones in 2007.
State personnel law allows employees to be dismissed if they display unsatisfactory job performance or unacceptable personal conduct. Jones was not guilty of either, Hardin said.
The dog named Ricoh, a Belgian Malinois, was not injured and retired.
The Highway Patrol no longer uses dogs for any duties other than drug detection, Gordon said, and employs only Labrador retrievers for that work.