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Patrol using training, software to head off problems

Posted November 2, 2011

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— In an effort to clean up its ranks after a number of state troopers were charged with misconduct, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol has turned to statistical software analysis, extra training and new policies, officials said Tuesday.

A six-person panel appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue last year recommended changes to the beleaguered patrol, including increased supervision of troopers statewide, more ethics training and policy changes to more closely monitor trooper conduct.

The Highway Patrol has been plagued in recent years by a number of cases involving state troopers who have resigned, been fired or been disciplined for inappropriate or questionable conduct, including profiling, drunken driving, animal abuse, sex on duty and inappropriate text messages.

"In tough times, there are opportunities for improvement. There are opportunities to do things," said Col. Michael Gilchrist, who took over as commander of the Highway Patrol shortly after the blue-ribbon panel made its recommendations to Perdue.

In the 14 months since then, the patrol has sent more than 400 supervisors through a 36-hour ethics training course based on curriculum developed by the FBI, officials said. The patrol also is creating a Center for Leadership Development to identify and nurture troopers and managers who have innovative leadership skills.

Patrol training effort gain national attention Patrol training effort gain national attention

The patrol's Internal Affairs Division is using statistical software developed by Cary-based SAS Inc. to analyze data and identify trends so issues can be addressed before it gets to the level of pursuing criminal charges against a trooper, officials said. The software also allows for managers to look at complaints or violations at the troop level.

"We can look at patrol car crashes. We can look at performance appraisals," Gilchrist said. "All of this information is tied into one system."

Having more than 1,800 people spread throughout all 100 North Carolina counties has made compiling such data difficult, he said.

Gilchrist said he believes the changes will improve the patrol's ethical conduct and image.

"There's a lot of things I'm proud of, but I'm certainly not going to sit here and say, 'We're good, and now it's time to coast,'" he said. "While you can't guarantee that you won't have employee failure, you can certainly put things in place to minimize that."


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  • southernscout41 Nov 8, 2011

    This is almost comical. The NCSHP already has the tools to "clean house" I personally was involved in a IA investigation where multiple pieces of evidence were provided or easily attained. However the Trooper a 20+ year Veteran, driving Instructor, member of the Governors security, master Trooper, well they get special privileges and "zero tolerance" doesn't apply to him. It is all about politics and power. A copy of my statement has been sent to Gov Office, WRAL, And NBC 17. It seems that the NCSHP does a very good job of covering up their mess, and I agree only when the media gets involved do they deal with the issues that plague them. Statement can be viewed on disgracetothebadge

  • radiofreebaf Nov 4, 2011

    Troopers have cameras in their cars, so am I authorized to have cameras and a DVR in my car as well?

  • stormtrooper76 Nov 4, 2011


    How many marines and arm soldiers in NC have been charged with murder?


    I did a google search for this information (NC only) and was shocked when I saw how many Marines and Soldiers have been charged for serious crimes in civilian court in this state in the last few years. I could only imagine what the military courts are seeing. Human nature is the same no matter what uniform you wear (if you wear one at all).

  • ASU Nov 3, 2011


    How many marines and arm soldiers in NC have been charged with murder?

  • leo-nc Nov 3, 2011

    I check my radar at the beginning of every shift and after every single stop. It's required and North Carolina has one of the most stringent RADAR programs in the country. You MUST be certified on RADAR before you can write a ticket, and if you've been through the class, it's not that easy.

    As for the tracking. They already track all of our stops. I have to put down the age, ethnicity and what I did on the stop. If I arrest I have to go into much more detail. Everything we do is ALREADY tracked.

  • Avenger Nov 3, 2011

    Our radar is checked and calibrated on a regular basis if you are going to depend on your cruise control I suggest you do the same.

  • storchheim Nov 3, 2011

    wwarrior, I too should have made myself clearer. They do need to track the arrests and other tasks performed by their officers. They do not need SAS software to do it. An Excel spreadsheet will make lovely trending graphs, and I'd guess it would take under 40 man/hours to write and automate such an application with the software they already have. Pencil and paper work just fine.

    The problem comes before the data is collected, though. How could this guy continue to target young women for drunk driving without someone noticing after the first 3-4 weeks? And who is entering the data? They're all part of the same organization. Don't you think it might be, as we geeks say, "massaged" a little?

    Would you want to be the data entry clerk who angers a trooper whose integrity is questionable? Hard to just get another well-paying, secure job. What if you have a family? He does know where you live, and when you're not home.

  • leo-nc Nov 3, 2011

    "I still don't believe the training has worked. Got a ticket yesterday, trooper said I was doing 85 and slowed to 84. My cruise control said 79, so I thought I had speed odometer issue. Checked it with GPS, and according to GPS I was going 78. However, trooper says 84 on the ticket, and I am guilty until proven innocent. I can only say I had the cruise set, can't prove it. Ticket should have been for 78 or 79, not 84, and I can plead down, but it is the principal, either something was wrong with his equipment, or he wasn't being truthful."---

    I hear the cruise control thing 10 times a day.

  • leo-nc Nov 3, 2011

    "Well, still did not help the trooper passed me this morning on I40, no lights, no sirens and blew by me as I was doing 70 like I was standing still....when can we expect this behavour to end?" Journey985

    Have you bothered to look at the laws of this state? It's not required that we have our lights and siren on all the time. In many instances, it would have been more dangerous to have my lights and siren on but I still have to get there quickly. It depends on the situation. Yes, doing it just to do it is a different situation altogether but unless you have an MDT up with our cad notes in it, you haven't a clue as to what we are doing at the time.

  • leo-nc Nov 3, 2011

    "Journey985; glad you know so much about the Patrol?"---

    He doesn't. He just likes to pretend that he does. He's not even close with his "observations" and so called facts.