McLENNAN Commissoners’ Court authorized a $30,000 payment to the ex-wife of a K9 Officer whose son’s face was disfigured by his dog, Ace. This story tells how a former training Lieutenant and the K9 handler abused the dog with a cap pistol and by constant harassment that led to his being refused re-certification by a Louisiana firm. – The Legendary
SHERIFF PARNELL MCNAMARA SAID, “THIS REPORT IS NOT FINAL. IT IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.” WATCH THESE COLUMNS FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH THE TWO OFFICERS, WITH THE APPROVAL OF SHERIFF MCNAMARA. – The Legendary
Waco – Police Officers entrusted with the care and training of a tame wolf named Ace whose job is to detect illegal, dangerous drugs, acted with negligence, then lied about it, the official record shows.
A records release made on Monday, December 22, by County Attorney Dustin Chapman of 147 pages of findings in the investigation of a narcotics detection dog abused by a K9 handler and a training supervisor at the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office during the months of March through August 2014 establish three sets of facts – and come to a decisive conclusion.
- Corporal Joseph Ballew “was not conducting a training exercise with Ace during the time (August 19) Deputy Wolfe was bitten.” The Latest training record is dated August 18. “Both verbal and written statements by Ballew to the contrary are less than forthright.”
- Two Lieutenants assigned to conduct an investigation declared Ballew “was negligent and reckless in his handling of Ace.” They concluded his conduct resulted in making the dog overly aggressive, an animal who attempted to bite and attack both officers and bystanders alike. Certification experts at US K9 in Kaplan, Louisiana, refused to go further with training a new handler until Ace could go through extensive retraining.
- Investigators concluded that training supervisor Chris Eubank, at the time a Lieutenant, sent an e-mail claiming “that a training exercise was being conducted appears to greatly and purposefully minimize the incident.”
Both men have approached Randall Scott Gates, a former detective who once was certified as a K9 handler, to say that their side of the story has gone untold. Sgt. Eubank was demoted from his former position as a Lieutenant; Corporal Ballew “took advantage of an opportunity to make a lateral transfer” to the Patrol Division, where he now works as a patrol officer. Their statements made during the course of the investigation are adequately covered by these columns. The official records show the investigators disagreed; their supervisors acted accordingly.
In any case, neither of them have communicated otherwise, either verbally, or in writing.
To date, no other answers have been made by Sheriff Parnell McNamara or members of his administration, other than the release by a county official of the public records requested.
According to the report, a meticulous collection of documents chronicling the training, expenses, health records, and equipment purchased to handle Ace, the end result is that thousands of dollars have been spent to re-train the dog, rather than destroy it.
These facts are important due to a Supreme Court decision regarding two Florida cases overturned in February of 2013, a holding that concurs with previous decisions that the olfactory perception of a K9 trained to perceive narcotics is infallible, but must be proven by the expert testimony of the handler, supported by accurate records kept on the training and certification of the handler and his dog.
Allegations that sensitive documents obtained from a confidential informant who sent them anonymously through the U.S. Postal Service in an unmarked envelope to R.S. Gates were stolen by a former supervisor, or were somehow falsified, are not true. The 147 pages of records released by the attorney Chapman are supportive of those documents; in the case of the 38 pages previously received, the pages that come from the official investigation are identical.
They are a part of the public record as a result of that release.
To read a previous report, follow this link: