Local News

Patrol Chief Pushes for Proper Conduct by Troopers

Posted September 11, 2007
Updated September 12, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— The commander of the state Highway Patrol said Tuesday that his agency is working quickly to regain public trust after a string of criminal cases against troopers.

"We feel hurt. We feel embarrassed for our organization," Col. Fletcher Clay said.

Three troopers have been fired or resigned in the past two weeks, and a fourth is under investigation following criminal charges or allegations of misconduct:

  • Trooper Scott Harrison was fired two weeks ago after being accused of targeting young women for overnight traffic stops. When a judge ruled his credibility was questionable, Wake County prosecutors dismissed dozens of charges he had brought.
  • Trooper Michael Steele resigned last week amid allegations that he forced two women he pulled over to kiss him.
  • Sgt. Charles Jones, who was in charge of training the Highway Patrol's K-9 unit, was fired after state officials reviewed a videotape provided by a fellow trooper that appeared to show Jones abusing a dog during a training exercise. Officials also ordered a complete review of the K-9 program.
  • First Sgt. John Warren was placed on investigative leave Sunday after he was charged with drunken driving.

Clay said he can't excuse bad behavior, but he said he doesn't want the headlines to destroy the good work of the other 1,800 troopers on the road. He said he sees no pattern of problems, noting that overall complaints against the patrol are down.

He has instructed all supervisors to reinforce the message of proper conduct among troopers.

"The deeper rooted question is, 'Why? Why is that? ' And that's what we've got to home in on," he said.

Hiring standards aren't an issue, Clay said, because the accused troopers in these cases are veterans.

46 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Lightfoot3 Sep 13, 2007

    There are good cops, and there are bad cops. There are even evil cops. One wrong word to a bad cop and they can make your life a living heck, or even end your life and plant some weapon on you. It should always be “yes sirs” and “no sirs” when dealing with cops because you never know what kind you might have.


    Want to see what a bad cop does? Check out:


    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2007/09/12/chetry.kid.pulled.over.dashcam.cnn

  • Bugsly Sep 13, 2007

    To Col. Clay-no need to reprimand the entire NCSHP. The actions of a few troopers are just that...the actions of a few. We, as law-abiding citizens of the state of NC, know the majority of your troopers are hard working, law-abiding citizens just like the rest of us. Since you came up through the ranks, you can tell us how many times someone has made the remark, "I pay your salary". I know...I am a detention officer and if I had a penny for every time someone made that remark to me, I would be rich. If I were a Trooper, I would be a go-zillionaire. I have worked with your Troopers for the past 16 years and I have never encountered anything but professionalism from the NCSHP. If I had witnessed anything else, believe me, I would have made a complaint. There is nothing I detest more than a "dirty cop". Keep your chin up and continue to do what you do best...take care of the citizens of NC. Semper Fi (Always Faithful). I am former USMC.

  • Patriots wife Sep 12, 2007

    jhnewman

    Well said!!

  • jhnewman Sep 12, 2007

    Patriot's Wife hit the nail on the head!

    Considering that approximately 12% of American citizens have drug/alcohol addictions (folks that is sixty times the 0.2% rate Patriot's wife cites!), it is incredible that the Highway Patrol is able to muster the superb record they have.

    The Highway patrol officers are the unsung warriors who put their lives on the line every day for all of us. Their character and demeanor are above reproach in my book.

  • Patriots wife Sep 12, 2007

    First of all, let us look at this scientifically/mathematically. Four of 1800 is ONLY 0.2%. This is NOT a large number. As with any organization, there will be some who inherently believe they are the "entitled" ones. No organization is free from this humanistic behavior. Our State Highway Patrol is one of the finest, most upstanding organizations we have the privilege of knowing. They do in fact, literally, place their lives on the line every day they report to duty. I am honored to know two patrolmen and their families, personally. There are no finer gentlemen that my husband and I have had the pleasure of knowing. They are both kind, family-oriented, professional patrolmen who keep portions of Hwy. 87 and US 1 safe for the rest of us. I am part of the medical community, and as much as I would like to say we are without blemish, I can't. None of us can. Therefore, please try to remember 0.2 % is barely even neglible. Don't let the few bad apples tarnish the other honorable 99.8%.

  • 5Rs Sep 12, 2007

    As viewed on tv, the response from the leadership has been weak, if not pathetic. Any law enforcement organization attracts people with sadistic tendencies and must always be on the alert to weed them out. If there is no ongoing program to do so, the leadership must institute one immediately. The vast majority of troopers are terrific, but it only takes a few to destroy the reputation of the organization.

  • saywhaaaaat Sep 12, 2007

    RUUUUFFFF GET'M BOY........LOL YEAH HE'S RIGHT IT'S LIKE EVERYTIME I SEE A TROOPER ON THE HWY...I THINK OF THESE PEOPLE, AND I CANNOT SEEM TO THINK THAT THEY TO, ARE EVEN TRUSTWORTHY TO BE PATROLING THE HWY'S...SAD..SO.SO.SAD.....

  • freddie cadetti 72 Sep 12, 2007

    It's Patrol COMMANDER...not Patrol Chief. Contrary to what you may think, all law enforcement agencys are not police depts.

  • nisa-pizza Sep 12, 2007

    Four troopers within a months time? I'm not saying that all troopers are guilty of misconduct but the odds are telling us something with this high number of incidents loudly and clearly. Someone, somewhere along the line in the past at the Highway Patrol has given these guys the indication that they are above the law and has looked the other way when it came to some of this kind of behavior. All of them being veterans, there is no way this all just started. It seems like someone over there is cleaning house. Just have to wonder what prompted this cleaning frenzy all of the sudden.

    I can't imagine how many cases are going to be effected by Troopers Harrison and Steel and will they bring into question the veracity of their other questionable cases (if victims are brave enough to step forward). I bet lawyers are sending out postcards now to any females ticketed by them.

  • tara126_99 Sep 12, 2007

    I actually got in an accident this weekend and the trooper that came to our assitance was wonderful. He was so polite and caring. I was very upset and he we always reassuring. He made a bad situation just a little bit better. Trooper Bobbitt is a shinning example that there are some great troopers out there.

More...