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State's Top Trooper to Retire

Posted March 28, 2008

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— The commander of the state Highway Patrol announced Friday that he would retire at the beginning of July.

A 29-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, Col. W. Fletcher Clay headed the agency since June 2004. He is retiring for personal reasons.

Bryan Beatty, secretary of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, credited Clay with improving efforts to enforce laws governing tractor-trailers on state highways and upgrading the Highway Patrol's communications.

“Since 2004, the patrol’s motor carrier enforcement activities have been the highest in the history of highway safety in North Carolina, and all first responders have the technology available to communicate with one another,” Beatty said in a statement. ”He has served the citizens of North Carolina honorably, and his commitment to highway safety has made a difference on our highways.”

Clay issued a statement thanking all of the Highway Patrol's employees for their hard work and support.

"I know all the success and recognition we received during my tenure is directly attributed to each of you," he said.

The Highway Patrol employs 1,820 troopers to cover more than 78,000 miles of North Carolina roadways.

During the past year, the agency has been rocked by allegations of misconduct by several troopers, ranging from late-night stops of women drivers to animal abuse to drunken driving. Gov. Mike Easley ordered a review of the Highway Patrol's hiring and training practices.

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  • gmoux138 Mar 28, 2008

    Thanks for the support Ed and I didn't take it personal Pearl just irks me when good folks like Colonel Clay get the shaft. He only had the helm for four years and tried his best to get rid of the bad apples; remember he was the one firing them. Judges were trying to put them back on the road. So if you want to blame someone..... As for the disrespect and the number of "bad apples" i would still put the Patrol up against any organization or any profession as far as that goes in the percentage of "bad apples". But when we get one it is front page news and if your are talking N&O its front page for several days. Check the numbers of any agency that size.

    Thanks Fletcher for your service and dedication. Best to you and Dana. 65th

  • beachboater Mar 28, 2008

    If the next governor were going to fire and rehire another commander, why is this man retiring in July? I don't think that carries any water.

    Overall I think the HP does a very good job.

  • fedupwithitall Mar 28, 2008

    lizard "Those who "don't respect the badge" never did to start with."

    Not true. I used to respect the badge. It just seems like there are way too many bad apples hiding behind that badge today for me to respect that badge.

    However, I realize that not all leo's are bad, just way too many of them.

  • fedupwithitall Mar 28, 2008

    Hopefully, his replacement can clean house to get the bad apples out of the SHP and replace them with deserving leo's that have the integrity that we need in our law enforcement community.

  • lizard Mar 28, 2008

    Those who "don't respect the badge" never did to start with. You're not going to change them. People like that will stereotype others too.

  • PearlMonteverde Mar 28, 2008

    LEO-NC believe it or not, I'm on your side....I wish the public didn't have the negative views of LEOs. You're under too much "political" stress, you work for little pay.....& because of the bad apples---your badge isn't respected any longer. How do we fix it???-----WE CHANGE IT!!! There are just way too many bad apples.....I say raise the pay, lower the stress level! But, I'm very happy to have stirred up the conversation a little. You never know what chief or sheriff may read this and have the b**ls to stand up for his or her department!

  • leo-nc Mar 28, 2008

    "Just maybe the answer to that question is because for so long parents have told their children if they misbehave the policeman will "get them"?????? I am a cop, I have heard that time and time again when in public and it kills me when a parent says that to a child, what kind of thoughts does that put into the mind of a child?"

    When someone does that to their kid in my presence I just look at the parents and say "Actually, you'd be the one I take because children learn from their parents."

    They don't like that, but I guess the truth hurts.

  • leo-nc Mar 28, 2008

    "Gimme a break WRAL. Related stories? How about just smear stories? I didn't see a positive one in the entire list. Looks like you work for the N & O."

    I agree. Why haven't they put any of the positive stories in the related stories list? There are a bunch of them but I guess WRAL wants to keep the drama high. Col. Clay has done a good job, and he is a good man despite what some of you unknowing outsiders might think.

  • LL4U Mar 28, 2008

    Same 'ol, Same 'ol - different day - YAWN
    Political hack who did some good things but also turned the other cheek until the fire got too hot.

  • I_am_not_Jeff Mar 28, 2008

    To Pearl: you wrote : " Why in the grocery store do you hear a mom saying "Be careful of that policeman, he may be mean to you" instead of "be kind to the nice policeman, he's here to protect us." The world is crazy!"
    Just maybe the answer to that question is because for so long parents have told their children if they misbehave the policeman will "get them"??????
    I am a cop, I have heard that time and time again when in public and it kills me when a parent says that to a child, what kind of thoughts does that put into the mind of a child?

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