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Review: Highway Patrol 'ethical, professional,' but problems exist

Posted April 30, 2008

North Carolina State Highway Patrol
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— Recent problems with the North Carolina Highway Patrol don't seem to be directly related to any flaws in the agency's hiring process but the first-line supervision of troopers is at a "sub-optimal level."

That's according to a 46-page independent report released Wednesday on the state agency's hiring policies and procedures, supervision and the quality of its ethics training.

At a cost of $98,000, Kroll, an international risk-consulting company, conducted the four-month evaluation following the dismissal of several troopers after allegations of on-duty sexual misconduct, drunken-driving, animal abuse and other acts of personal and professional misconduct.

Less than 1 percent of troopers have caused the problems that have become public and been a concern, the report says. But the ever-increasing administrative burdens on sergeants and first sergeants keep them from adequately supervising troopers on the road.

"There's no smoking gun," Bryan Beatty, secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. "There's nothing that would be major to change, but there are some things that could enhance the organization if we're able to implement them."

Overall, however, the report is complementary of the Highway Patrol, calling it a "well-managed, ethical and highly professional police organization."

But it does list 43 recommendations for change, including more personal interviews with applicants, more active recruiting and an increase in pay and incentives to make the agency more competitive.

State law limits the number of supervisors in the Highway Patrol to 21 percent – well below the percentage of what other law enforcement agencies have. Kroll suggests the agency ask lawmakers to change that law.

The report also found it to be a challenge for first-line supervisors to watch over troopers within their command, saying the Patrol has a "young generation of sergeants, many of whom lack sufficient experience (professionally and in life) to know when or how to take appropriate action with troopers experiencing personal problems."

Kroll suggests advanced leadership development for patrol supervisors to help manage with personnel issues.

"A real need exists for supervisors to receive leadership development training (and refresher courses) on a regular basis, with a particular emphasis on the development of true leadership skills," it says.

"There are some things we can do to improve, and we're willing to do that," Beatty said. "And I believe the public can continue to have confidence in the Patrol's ability to maintain highway and public safety."

51 Comments

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  • atac001 May 1, 2008

    My wife accidentally cut off a black undercover police officer in a dark black car coming from downtown raleigh due to the road merging and he this guy pulled up next to us and gave us the finger and told us to F-Off. Okay, she made a mistake, but to resort to such profanity is an embarrassment to the department and to the people of Raleigh.

  • leo-nc Apr 30, 2008

    ifc, you need a life. What does your lack of understanding about constitutional law have to do with a story about the highway patrol review? Nothing.

  • Love my boys Apr 30, 2008

    The whole point of a checkpoint is to continue to maintain the safety of our roads in this state. When everyone that has an alcoholic beverage uses their common sense to realize the dangers of driving after consuming said beverage, I can almost assure you that there will be far less checkpoints. But until that happens, be prepared to show your driver's license (if you have one). If you are doing/have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about. When it comes to the safety of me and my family, I'll take my so-called constitutional right and allow them to stop me, search my car and home if they want. I have nothing to hide. If holding a checkpoint every 1/2 mile takes even 1 drunk driver, one illegal immigrant, one wanted criminal off the road, I'll gladly go through each and every one of them.

    Which is more important to you - your constitutional right or the safety and well-being of your family?

  • Glenn Miller Apr 30, 2008

    IFC, The constitutionality of checkpoints has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court in the following cases:

    Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990)
    State v. Mitchell, 358 N.C. 63 (2004)
    Illinois v. Lidster, 124 S.Ct. 885 (2004)

  • KJinRTP Apr 30, 2008

    I love it. Its amazing how someone who doesn't work for the Higway Patrol can critic their methods of training. I'm not justifying or saying that they are right but no one knows unless they are part of that agency. That would be like me coming to your job and saying that you're not washing my tires right. Too much time lick stamps for Hilary and Barack will affect your mind. Next time you wanna criticize someone for something that you don't know about, don't. Find a tree to hug or whale to kiss and leave the important stuff to us.

  • ifcdirector Apr 30, 2008

    "You seem to bring this complaint up quite frequently. Is there a history here with you in this area? Quite frankly, I wish the LEO's would have MORE checkpoints to get rid of some of the people driving illegally, drunk, or without the proper insurance and registration. FE"

    Yes FE and thank you for noticing there is a history of my having to go through these checkpoints and I despise them because they violate our rights. Eleven states have declared this practice unconstitutional under their own state's constitutions and I hope more will join them. In effect they are saying if the Supreme Court makes up an exceptions clause for DWI, checking licenses, etc then our state court will have to protect the citizenry if they won't. I am sorry you feel that more government intrusion and being seized more often without probable cause are acceptable to you but people today rarely appreciate their liberties in my opinion.

  • Timbo Apr 30, 2008

    Checkpoints should be unconstitutional, as they are searching people without probably cause.

    Keep in mind that the Supreme Court upheld slavery also. So to say the Supreme Court makes it valid is not quite true. If I was on a jury where evidence of any kind was collected from a checkpoint, I would have to vote not guilty. That's my moral right as an American.

  • FragmentFour Apr 30, 2008

    "Are you making the argument that questioning authority is to be held in high esteem?"--blisstate

    This question wasn't directed at my previous post, but the answer is a resounding "YES." Questioning is not only an open option, it's a flat responsibility. BUT... questioning does not equal challenging. The two are entirely unrelated fish.

  • Blue steel Apr 30, 2008

    Line Sergeants in the SHP do more paperwork than most small town Chiefs. No wonder they don't have time to supervise. Anyone could have seen that.

  • FE Apr 30, 2008

    ifcdirector - There is a heck of a difference between a valid license/DUI checkpoint as opposed to "go(ing) door to door to every house and search each house without a warrant or the consent of those inside."

    You seem to bring this complaint up quite frequently. Is there a history here with you in this area? Quite frankly, I wish the LEO's would have MORE checkpoints to get rid of some of the people driving illegally, drunk, or without the proper insurance and registration.

    FE

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