Deep nights “D” Shift Corporal Joseph Ballew poses beside the famous filing cabinet where he had K9 “Ace” try to jump as his shift supervisor, Sgt. Chris Eubank looks on
In a wide-ranging audio interview, two patrol supervisors previously involved in an investigation over a K9 training incident refuted nearly every finding made that led to a reprimand for one and a pay grade change for the other.
Former Lt. Chris Eubank denied he ever had any responsibilities in the training of K9 handlers, and no duties in background clearance of prospective recruits to the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office. In blunt language, he maintained that allegations made by two Division Captains that resulted from an investigation carried out by two lieutenants are lies, and that the source of his woes is none other than retired Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon, who resigned as Chief Deputy, effective the first of October.
He told The Legendary that at one point early in 2014, he had decided to resign rather than face a schedule change that would have found him working every weekend and all nights as a Lieutenant. When Sheriff Parnell McNamara persuaded him to stay employed at his Department, he accepted a job as a Sergeant Patrol Supervisor on “D” shift, which lasts from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the days he works, with every other weekend off.
Eubank says he never threatened the job tenure of Kim King, a former training assistant at the Sheriff’s Office who now works as a Jail Investigator. He denied ever telling her to destroy any part of a personnel file on a former corrections officer named Spencer Rowell whom Jail Captain John Kolinek dismissed for misconduct. His explanation is that Sheriff McNamara reversed that decision and allowed Rowell to resign, at the behest of Chief Deputy Matt Cawthon.
“There was an F-5 (Texas peace officer licensee separation form), but it wasn’t final…,” he said.
Both he and Cpl. Joseph Ballew, who maintains he never left his job as a corporal in the Patrol Division, where he once worked as a apprehension and drug detection dog handler; he simply remained at work in the position of Patrolman when the department reassigned the K9 function to the Organized Crime Division.
He reiterated a previous press report that he accepts full responsibility for his actions leading to a written reprimand for having a dog named “Ace” attempt to jump to the top of a 5-drawer file cabinet in the Patrol Office at the Sheriff’s headquarters on 901 Washington Ave.
“He’d done it before,” he explained. He also went into great detail about why and how such an exercise is very practical due to certain requirements in clearing attics and overhead crawl spaces in certain buildings.
Ballew also defended his training methods of firing a cap pistol at his dog. He said it is neither teasing, nor tormenting the animal, and defended his reasoning by explaining it is a form of conditioning the animal to remain calm in the face of gunfire.
Both agreed that it would be fair to characterize the actions of Sheriff Parnell McNamara as a personnel adjustment involving the reclassification of various officers; both said they are happy with the changes, and are filled with praise for the first-term Sheriff.
Here is a rare opportunity to examine the interior politics and motivations behind the actions of two career law men: