Because I'm going to drive through Raleigh, Jones' old stomping grounds, in about thirty minutes.
A Highway Patrol trooper who kicked and hoisted his canine partner off the ground by its neck should be rehired to the job he lost after videos of the mistreatment surfaced, a judge ruled.
Superior Court Judge James Hardin Jr. ruled in an order signed Monday that former North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Charles Jones was improperly fired. Hardin said Jones also should recoup back pay and attorneys' fees.
This is video of Jones, "training" his state-provided Belgian Mallinois Ricoh, for the offense of refusing to let go of a rubber ball:
When I wrote about Jones' non-ASPCA-endorsed training methods earlier (after an administrative law judge ordered Jones reinstated) I was under the impression that the North Carolina Highway Patrol did not endorse Jones' rather … unusual … methods. It turns out I was wrong. Jones must have been fired, not for doing anything wrong (after all, a dog is only a dumb brute, so it's okay to put the animal through hanging and abuse that would get a soldier in Iraq a court-martial if used against a terrorist), but because the truth embarrassed a few politicians.
Hardin ruled that although Jones' actions were not among the training techniques specifically approved by the Highway Patrol, they were no worse that the agency's accepted methods.
Jones' conduct, "while appearing excessive and extreme to the general public, is not unreasonably outside of or substantially different from several of the training techniques that are tested, trained and approved for use by the patrol," Hardin wrote.
Hardin said the Highway Patrol's dog training methods included whipping dogs, hitting them wit sticks, and using choke collars and stun guns.
"All of these training techniques are extremely harsh and well beyond what an owner of a typical 'house' pet would use to discipline or train a 'family' dog," Hardin wrote. "Canine handlers were taught to rule with an 'iron fist' as canines were 'weapons' which had to be under control at all times."
That the methods go beyond those used by the United States Army, well, that just goes to show how hard-core the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is.
So congratulations, soon-to-be ex-ex-Trooper Jones. And here's hoping the Wake, Johnston, and Durham County criminal defense bars, which also serve your territory, will be made aware of your imminent return. I'll bring the popcorn for your first cross-examination.