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Selection process under way for next top trooper

Posted June 13, 2008

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— The selection process for the state Highway Patrol's next commander is expected to be complete "soon," a spokesman for the agency said Friday.

Col. W. Fletcher Clay, a 29-year veteran of the Patrol, announced earlier this year he is retiring at the end of the month after four years as commander.

His last official day on the job was this Wednesday.

But Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin would not say when a new commander would be named.

Bryan Beatty, secretary of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, will make a recommendation to Gov. Mike Easley, who has the ultimate authority and makes the final decision on the appointment.

The agency has about a half dozen internal candidates – each whom has been undergoing a detailed interview process and background review over the past few weeks – for the position, as well as a deputy commander position.

"We're looking for a strong leader who will get out and work with the community closely and who will be pushing our mission of highway safety," Clendenin said.

The next commander will also face other challenges relating to the Patrol's image and reputation.

Over the past year, the agency has been mired in controversy because of allegations of trooper misconduct ranging from late-night stops of female drivers to animal abuse to drunken driving.

"They know going into this, there are issues that have to be dealt with, and we have to continue to work to keep the public's trust," Clendenin said. "We believe we do have the public's trust, and we want the public to know that we will continue to work closely with them."


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  • freddie cadetti 72 Jun 13, 2008

    Hey for the USA...there have been several cases where someone below Major has beed chosen Colonel. Fletcher Clay has been one of the best. His predecessor had the patrol in the lowest morale in recent history. Regardless, the patrol is what it is...the BEST law enforcement agency in the country. If the Guv and Beatty would lay off and let them be, it would be even better.

  • FE Jun 13, 2008

    The next top guy at the SHP is already WITH the SHP.

    Those who think otherwise seriously need to do a reality check!

  • thugsnightmare Jun 13, 2008

    I bet it will be someone that spineless Beatty can control and tell what decisions to make. I would not take that job right now because you might have a republican gov taking office soon. Don't be scared Beatty!!!!!!

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Jun 13, 2008

    Go to Nevada to get your NCSHP Leader... I bet RENO (911) has the best available to us. Esp the officer in the short-shorts. He would make a great addition to the NCSHP team...

  • Lady Justice Jun 13, 2008

    I think it is about time for the NCSHP to change their process and be open to the possibility that there might be candidates outside the agency who are more qualified and experienced for the position. I am all for picking someone internally if he/she is the best candidate, but most other large LEO agencies around open up the process to select the most qualified. I do not understand how they are any different. We just recently saw the negatives of a LEO agency being so closely tied with the Governor's office (K-9 trooper having to be reinstated).

  • For the U.S.A. Jun 13, 2008

    How can there be "about a half a dozen" people being looked at to be X-100. There are only 2 majors in the HP. If they get looked over, then there will certainly be more problems (Political) in the HP.