Local Politics

Perdue names new Highway Patrol commander

Posted October 29, 2010

— Gov. Beverly Perdue on Friday named Lt. Col. Michael W. Gilchrist the new commander for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Gilchrist has served as deputy commander of the patrol – second in command – since March. He has been with the patrol since 1986, when he was first assigned to a troop in Fayetteville.

"I'm very energetic, very excited about this new position. I'm very excited about where we're going," Gilchrist told WRAL News in his first interview after being appointed. "Of course, I feel pressure, but I don't feel overwhelmed."

A native of Plymouth and a 1985 graduate of East Carolina University, Gilchrist has served as the Highway Patrol's assistant personnel officer, overseen operations at the agency's training academy and served as director of its Office of Professional Standards.

"I think I bring to the table a lot of understanding – organizational understanding – and exposure. So, what that allows me to do is to move forward, to hit the ground running," he said.

“For a quarter century, Col. Gilchrist has helped safeguard the safety of the people of North Carolina and demonstrated exceptional leadership all along the way,” Perdue said in a statement. “His years on the front line earned him his stripes and the respect of his brother and sister troopers. I am confident that Col. Gilchrist will provide the strong leadership that the Highway Patrol and its 2,300 employees need.”

Highway Patrol commander Col. Michael Gilchrist Web only: Gilchrist to lead Highway Patrol

Gilchrist succeeds Col. Randy Glover, who retired from the post in September amid a restructuring of the agency after a number of incidents involving troopers accused of inappropriate or questionable conduct.

Glover said in July that he was stepping away from the post because the troubles, which ranged from profiling to drunken driving, animal abuse and sex on duty, had become a distraction for the patrol and that his leadership had become a target of critics.

"Any time you have employees that fail in terms of job performance or conduct, any of that we take very seriously," Gilchrist said.

Col. Michael Gilchrist name plate New commander aims to polish patrol's image

His approach will be to clearly communicate expectations, seek input and give troopers support they need to do their jobs well, he said. The patrol already has adopted new codes of conduct, and troopers will undergo character and ethics training.

A special panel appointed by Perdue recommended that she hire someone with a solid record in the Highway Patrol who has completed outside leadership training courses. State law requires that the commander come from the ranks of the patrol.

"My perspective is to serve the organization, to do what's right for the organization and for the people of North Carolina," Gilchrist said.

“Col. Gilchrist has devoted his life to serving the citizens of this state and has demonstrated the essential qualities of a successful leader such as loyalty, integrity and professionalism," Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Reuben Young said in a statement.

89 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • leo-nc Oct 29, 7:32 p.m.

    "Why is LEO nc on here everyday talking about what they do. It confirms for me that law dawgs can't get enough of themselves"

    Yep, you got me. LOL that's it. No not really. I just can't stand ignorant people who are clueless, but think they know all about what we do. You don't know anything about me and if you did, you definitely wouldn't have posted that nonsense... So move on. ;)

  • readbtthelines Oct 29, 6:39 p.m.

    I love all the haters on this blog. Your ignorance is only exceeded by your misinformation and slanted opinion. By the way Tarheelfan13, what P.D. do you work for? You can stop by any HP office and apply - that is if you even qualify - Barney... P.S. Quit crying

  • independentvoter3 Oct 29, 6:38 p.m.

    TrentRage... now that's a GREAT idea....

  • TrentRage Oct 29, 5:55 p.m.

    Nice....Just what you need, someone from within a flawed system, who is used to the flawed system, to run things. They needed to hire from another agency.

    Actually, what they need to do is merge the HP and SBI. Most states do this, and I would imagine it would streamline things quite a bit, and save money.

  • Tarheelfan13 Oct 29, 4:58 p.m.

    "Isn't that the same as saying UNC is a waste because you met people from NC State that were good students? The point is both are colleges, but they have some differences. Same with HP and other leo's. There are some differences and specialties in each group. Not all police training is the same either. Police in Wrightsville Beach don't need to be trained in snow mountain rescue."

    If the NC Highway Patrol was an agency that performed general law enforcement duties besides highway law enforcement than maybe I could possibly see the justification for an academy.
    But let's be real here in that most law enforcement agencies such as municipal police in NC perform basic highway enforcement as well as a barrage of other duties that the HP does not have to even worry about. The HP has a false prestige because they work at state level when the reality is that their city/county counterparts are not just glorified highway police but have many other functions as well. The HP is spoiled.

  • sabol100 Oct 29, 4:54 p.m.

    rcso29 - do you have something against underheigth people?

  • UNCfuturealumi Oct 29, 4:54 p.m.

    Politician and law enforcement outside of SHP in his blood line too..so hold out folks and lets see how this one rolls..

  • u stand corrected Oct 29, 4:50 p.m.

    "N.C. correctional officers investigated for sex with inmates"

    It never ends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rcso29 Oct 29, 4:36 p.m.

    Looks like a little wimp....he's only 5'7...I bet his wife is bigger than he is.

  • thepeopleschamp Oct 29, 4:34 p.m.

    "The state HP Academy is a waste of tax payer money anyway since I have met and observed professional and upstanding police and sheriff officers who just went through BLET."
    Tarheelfan13

    Isn't that the same as saying UNC is a waste because you met people from NC State that were good students? The point is both are colleges, but they have some differences. Same with HP and other leo's. There are some differences and specialties in each group. Not all police training is the same either. Police in Wrightsville Beach don't need to be trained in snow mountain rescue.

More...