PASCO — A Soap Lake police officer is accused of driving drunk Thursday night when he wrecked a patrol car north of Pasco and then fought with sheriff's deputies trying to arrest him.
His police dog, K9 Basco, was inside but not injured. And Franklin County sheriff's deputies say Reserve Officer Shane Jones, 49, was trying to release the dog to attack them while he was resisting arrest.
Jones was a retired Okanogan County sheriff's deputy with a 17-year career before joining the small Grant County city's police department as a reserve officer four months ago.
Soap Lake Police Chief Ryan Cox told the Tri-City Herald on Friday that Jones has now been fired.
Jones also is under investigation for stealing the patrol car because he had no official business in Pasco, said Cox.
The small Grant County city is 20 miles north of Moses Lake with a population of about 1,500 and a police force of seven officers.
Franklin County deputies spotted the Soap Lake police car in the ditch along Highway 395 just before 8 p.m. Thursday, according to a Franklin County Sheriff's Office news release.
A Franklin County deputy detained Jones and started investigating him for DUI. When the deputy tried to arrest him, Jones started fighting.
At one point, Jones tried to release his dog using a remote, said the sheriff's release.
Jones is the handler for Basco, a police dog he had adopted after resigning from the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office. The dog had been trained for apprehensions, but currently was only certified to find drugs.
The Franklin County deputy used force to take Jones into custody, said the release.
Prior to his crashing into a ditch while heading south, Jones rear-ended a car near the intersection of Highways 17 and 395, and then drove away, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Thorson.
Jones appeared Friday in Franklin County Superior Court via a video link on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, a felony, misdemeanor resisting arrest and driving under the influence and operating a vehicle without ignition interlock, both gross misdemeanors.
A public defender was appointed to his case because Jones said he's no longer employed and does not have any other source of money to hire an attorney.
He asked to be released on his own recognizance.
Judge Jackie Shea Brown opted to keep bail at $20,000, "understanding the nature of the crimes being investigated, understanding the history with DUI, understanding the dangerousness of a pattern of DUI relative to the safety of this defendant and others on the road."
She told Jones that if he posts bond, he is not to consume alcohol and cannot drive unless he has a valid license.
Jones had two prior DUIs while working in Okanogan County, Cox told the Herald. Jones did not resist arrest in either case, and he admitted to negligent driving and reckless endangerment.
"We believed at the time this was not an issue," Cox said. "We believed that this person had been rehabilitated."
Previous DUI arrest
The former deputy had been fired from the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office in 2006 at least once before being reinstated.
Sheriff Frank Rogers fired Jones in August 2006, two weeks after he was caught driving drunk while on vacation in Bremerton, according to the Wenatchee World. Breathalyzer tests showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 and 0.13%.
The misdemeanor charge was deferred and charges were dropped after he met conditions and didn't commit any crimes for five years.
At the time, Rogers said he fired Jones because he lied to the trooper about the gun in his vehicle and was belligerent. The trooper testified that Jones appeared to believe that he deserved preferential treatment because he was a deputy, the World reported.
An arbitrator decided the penalty was too tough and Jones was reinstated and awarded $200,000 in back pay plus attorney's fees.
About 10 years later, Jones was stopped while he was driving in his personal car on Highway 97 in Brewster. It was found that he had Alprazolam, a sedative used to treat anxiety, in his system.
He resigned in April 2017, the World reported.
Cox said he spoke with Jones about three hours before the encounter and had no indication the officer had been drinking.
"I am deeply troubled by this now-former reserve officer's behavior," Cox posted on his agency's Facebook site. "This individual violated department policy and the law, and betrayed the public's trust and our agency standards."
Absolutely no one is above the law, especially police officers," he continued. "The Soap Lake Police Department is treating — and will continue to treat — this serious incident both professionally and transparently."
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