@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Audit: Highway Patrol doesn't enforce trooper residency policy

Posted September 11

— Several high-ranking State Highway Patrol members lived up to 187 miles from where they worked last year, in violation of agency policy, according to a state audit released Monday.

The Highway Patrol requires troopers to live within 20 miles of the county line where they are assigned to work, but state auditors found that policy is rarely enforced. Because troopers have to commute long distances, it adds to state fuel and maintenance costs for patrol vehicles and likely hinders response times, the audit states.

The State Auditor's Office investigated a tip about violations of the residency policy and found eight troopers, including a major, two captains and three lieutenants, all lived at least 68 miles from their duty stations. One captain lived in Morganton and commuted 187 miles to his work in Wake County, according to the audit.

All of the troopers initially denied commuting long distances, telling auditors that they maintained second residences near their duty stations. But reviews of fuel logs showed most of the patrol cars were gassed up near the troopers' primary residences during the week or on weekends, according to the audit.

"By not following the residency policy, troopers unnecessarily increased commuting miles on their State Highway Patrol vehicles. The increased commuting mileage ultimately resulted in higher fuel and maintenance costs and may have reduced the useful lives of their respective vehicles," the audit states. "Certain troopers, for example, first sergeants, may have jeopardized response time to critical calls at their respective duty stations by failing to comply with the residency policy."

Auditors criticized Highway Patrol management for not enforcing the policy.

"By not enforcing the residency policy, management created an environment where subordinate troopers were able to rationalize noncompliance or completely disregard the policy," the audit states.

Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks said all eight of the troopers have been brought into compliance with the residency policy and that the policy was reworked in March to focus more on response times than distance from one's duty station. All troopers are aware of the revamped policy, and patrol commanders know that they must strictly enforce it, Hooks said.

9 Comments

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  • Matt Wood Sep 12, 10:01 a.m.
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    It is perfectly appropriate to get mad at the people responsible for enforcing the rules when they break the rules. I personally have only had pleasant experiences with HP (needed their help a couple of times, and received it from officers who actually lived in the towns I was located in at the time, so they're not involved in this). The problem, however, lies in the fact that they enforce the rules on themselves, as well, which creates corruption. There should be an independent organization that oversees law enforcement agencies, they shouldn't be allowed to investigate and police themselves.

  • Susan Music Sep 12, 9:09 a.m.
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    Wow, so much hate toward the HP. Why is everyone so bitter? I sure hope one day you need assistance from the HP then maybe your ridiculous assumptions will change.

  • Jack Harris Sep 12, 8:05 a.m.
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    One thing the article left out is that they are constantly assigning troopers on temporary Duty to other area's and it would be impossible for them to live in there area! I do agree if it is there permanent assigned area they should live by the rule!

  • Jerry Sawyer Sep 11, 8:10 p.m.
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    The state highway patrol will not follow any rules of the road. They will kill you if you get in their way. They speed so much, they endanger lives every day. If they are in pursuit of someone, they will do anything to make a stop. They WILL kill you if you happen to be in their way. And, the number of speeders they stop is a joke. They say they care. THEY DO NOT. Their actions speak more than their words. So much blood is on their hands.

  • Jeff Freuler Sep 11, 5:42 p.m.
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    They fire more than you realize

  • Jill Stephenson Sep 11, 5:01 p.m.
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    About time our eyes are open to Law Enforcement, many think they are above the law and abuse their rules, less go back follow the guide lines, move closer to work or resign. Again caught with your hands in tax payer pockets

  • Haley Sessoms Sep 11, 4:12 p.m.
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    So I own a 2017 black and silver Dodge Charger. Cool!!!!

  • Rudy Bizzell Sep 11, 3:18 p.m.
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    They are better then us and do what they want they hardly ever get fired

  • Jeff Freuler Sep 11, 1:58 p.m.
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    The ones who were untruthful should be fired as it's a firing offense and always has been unless you were within certain circles