Local/State

Hearing continues for fired K-9 trooper

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The rough treatment of dogs is common practice by highway patrol k-9 handlers. That is according to testimony Tuesday at a hearing for a K-9 Trooper fired last year after he was caught on video kicking his dog.

K-9 Troopers tell Eyewitness News that they are not the Dog Whisperer and the dogs they deal with are nothing like a family pet.

They say they have seen treatment as bad or worse than what's in the infamous cell phone video.

In the video, then Highway Patrol Sergeant Charles Jones is standing on a deck at the trooper training center. A dog can be seen hanging off the rail next to him. After tying the dog off with its feet touching the ground, Jones jumps down to try to get the Belgian Malinoise to let go of a training toy. He begins kicking the dog.

"He's kicking the dog with the side of his foot, yelling 'Los, los, los' which means let go," State Trooper James Pickard said.

Trooper Pickard says the video does not show Jones abusing the dog named Ricoh.

And Pickard says he knows both Jones and Ricoh well, "Ricoh was a maniac on a lead," Pickard said. "I've seen him rip the pants off Charles, bite him many times."

A parade of Highway Patrol dog handlers said the same thing at the hearing.

Patrol dog handlers say while the video may be shocking to the uninitiated; police dogs have to be handled much more roughly than house dogs.

"I tell my dog at home 'don't bite'. I train my patrol dog to bite, but obey my command to stop and sometimes use force to control him. Out of control dogs on the side of the road can be a liability to the Highway Patrol," Pickard said. "You must control dog. If you have to hit, kick, use whatever means necessary or the dog will be a liability on the side of the road."

But one of the witnesses called by Jones' attorney was not a dog handler. Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Lockley is second in command at the Highway Patrol.

He fired Jones, but says now says Jones didn't get a fair shake because of pressure from the governor's office.

"I did the wrong thing for the right reasons, protecting the agency's image. This is the only case that has caused me any uncertainty. And because of this matter my personal integrity has been compromised," Lockley said.

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