Local Politics

Cleaning house at Highway Patrol requires legislative action

Posted July 8, 2010
Updated July 9, 2010

— Lawmakers said Thursday that they might need to take action to help clean house within the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, which has been battered by a seemingly unending string of misconduct cases involving state troopers.

Gov. Beverly Perdue called Wednesday for restructuring the patrol, but she provided few specifics. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Reuben Young and Col. Randy Glover, the commander of the patrol, have 60 days to develop restructuring plan.

A number of troopers and patrol officers have been disciplined or fired in recent years for offenses that included profiling young women for traffic stops, drunken driving, animal abuse and having sex on duty.

In the last month alone, the State Bureau of Investigation launched a probe into the activities of a trooper after a Raleigh woman alleged that he exposed himself to her in his patrol car, another trooper resigned after being charged with driving while impaired and hit-and-run and the longtime spokesman for the agency resigned amid an internal investigation into text messages he sent to a co-worker.

"The few bad apples that are there, we need to get rid of them and do it quickly," state Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, said Thursday.

John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, said politics with the Highway Patrol needs to be wiped clean before any reform can occur.

"Whether it's Col. Glover or any other colonel, I think what the system has shown is that it doesn't matter who's in the position. As long as this is a politically based system, you're going to have improper patronage," Midgette said.

Highway Patrol Col. Randy Glover Critics: Perdue should have fired patrol commander

Perdue appointed Glover, whom she has known from her days as a lawmaker from New Bern, to lead the patrol last year. Despite continued problems, she is sticking by him.

"I was surprised the governor didn't move ahead with making that replacement to make a real strong statement," said Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake.

Critics of the Highway Patrol point to state law that says leadership of the agency can come only from the governor, the secretary of crime control and public safety or within the patrol's ranks.

The law apparently was passed to ensure the patrol's leadership had familiarity and experience with the agency.

"I think we need to thoroughly examine changing that statute," McKissick said. "We need to provide the governor with flexibility in deciding who the commander is. We need to use the full talent base of the country, which is not limited to our state."

Perdue and Glover have previously issued a zero-tolerance policy for trooper misconduct, and the governor on Wednesday made ethics training and a signed code of conduct mandatory for all troopers. Patrol managers also would receive more leadership training.

The code of conduct includes the following statement: "As a Trooper, my behavior will not discredit the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, my community or the State of North Carolina. My character and conduct while off duty will always be exemplary, thus maintaining a position of respect in the community in which I live and serve. My personal behavior will be beyond reproach."

Glover and Young will crisscross the state to meet with troopers and find out what problems exist in an effort to boost  communication within the patrol.

Dollar said he was concerned that Glover blames media coverage for the patrol's problems.

"If the commander is not convinced that he has a problem that he needs to address within this organization, then we need a new commander," he said.

53 Comments

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  • leo-nc Jul 9, 5:21 p.m.

    ""leo-nc" My kind is most of the citizens of our great State and my attitude is that of a majority of them who are "fed up" with law enforcers that think they own the highways and byways and that they are doing us a big favor by letting us use them."---Wheel

    Are you and Journey brothers or something? lol

  • leo-nc Jul 9, 5:19 p.m.

    "As long as people like Charles Jones, the infamous Wake County dog hangman, can get reinstated to the patrol the rot will never cease."---

    Don't even get started on Charles Jones.. Not only does he love animals, but he's traveled out of state a time or two to rescue them. On top of that he just received two medals of valor in Apex. One for the shooting at the target and the second for putting himself between a shooter and potential victim, saving her life. So unless you know the person, you should probably keep your lip zipped. He's done nothing but enforce the law like he was trained to do, and has been through many dangerous situations, saving lives. Situations which you have probably never faced. So give me a break, and at least pick someone to talk smack about who deserves it, because he doesn't.

  • poorrichard Jul 9, 4:47 p.m.

    most if not 99+% of the Troopers are " True & Blue "
    UN-B-FORT-N-LEE you do have a bad apple get in the barrel.
    When you try to get him GONE - he gets a lawyer/goes to
    a "admin hearing" , maybe court, sue you, ETC to get his
    back..... He wins 4 what ever reason....
    BUT ~ You have this situation in a lot of jobs ---- that
    is your 10 percent, 1 percent, or like the HP ,something like ONE HALF of 1 percent (9 out of 1800) [more or less]... Oh yes- I am a ret'd - LEO/NC

  • ZaneFerris Jul 9, 3:31 p.m.

    As long as people like Charles Jones, the infamous Wake County dog hangman, can get reinstated to the patrol the rot will never cease.

    http://www.popehat.com/2010/01/06/its-1201-am-do-you-know-who-just-pulled-over-your-teenager/

    The patrol is only part of the problem.

  • WHEEL Jul 9, 3:09 p.m.

    "leo-nc" My kind is most of the citizens of our great State and my attitude is that of a majority of them who are "fed up" with law enforcers that think they own the highways and byways and that they are doing us a big favor by letting us use them.

  • wakeconative4ever Jul 9, 3:01 p.m.

    leo-nc.... I agree with you 100%....maybe the governor and colonel will realize that they can't play these types of games...it all sounds good in front of a tv camera, but not so great when you can't even go out to a local restaurant and have a beer. Not that we drink, because we don't, but we certainly have the right to. I hope no one in the patrol will support her in her re-election bid. And I hope every member of the patrol can find another job as soon as possible and show the people of this state just exactly what it is like without them.

  • leo-nc Jul 9, 2:18 p.m.

    "She lost my vote when she said that troopers did not earn their jobs, but their jobs were a "gift"."---

    Lets put her through patrol school and see if she makes that statement again. I seriously doubt it. Morale is very low right now. Partly because of what we see in the news with the bad troopers. The good ones don't want that. We want them gone too... and partly because these new procedures and requirements they are going to put in place are going to do nothing but make many of the good troopers resign. Watch and mark my words... They will leave in droves when other departments startup temporary incentive programs to get them to move. Don't think those departments won't take advantage of it...

  • leo-nc Jul 9, 2:14 p.m.

    ""I get tired of hearing from LEO-NC. If he is so smart why isn't he running the HP --- wait a minute, maybe he is.""--Wheel

    Wheel, bless your heart. If you can't handle facts, then hit the ignore button because I'm not going anywhere. I've seen your past posts, I know your kind and your attitude.

  • Retired07 Jul 9, 2:03 p.m.

    The HP needs a cleaning and attitude adjustment from the top down. It needs the spiffy helicopter operations brought into a true need operation instead of a Big Boy Toy operation. Same is true for the ever changing Motorcycle fleet. This crowd has been spoiled with unlimited operation capital and training by Old School Boys that they are better than the average citizen. Clean them up and clear out the upper group and you will go a long way toward salvaging the average trooper and molding them into an operation that truly serves the NC taxpayer. Remove the POLITICS.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 9, 1:14 p.m.

    First every member of the legislature that is guilty of crimes must confess and submit themselves for arrest. The two or three that are left can deal with the highway patrol.

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