Local News

State Highway Patrol gets new leader

Posted June 24, 2008
Updated June 25, 2008

— Maj. Walter J. Wilson Jr., a 28-year veteran of the state Highway Patrol, will assume command next month when Col. W. Fletcher Clay retires, Gov. Mike Easley announced Tuesday.

Wilson will be promoted to colonel during the transition.

Easley also named Maj. Jamie J. Hatcher to the patrol's lieutenant colonel position to replace Lt. Col. Cecil Lockley, who retired earlier this month.

Wilson, of Tarboro, is a graduate of Campbell University, the Southern Police Institute in Louisville and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. He started his career with the Highway Patrol in 1980, serving Wake County.

Hatcher joined the patrol in 1982 in Bertie County. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico and the Administrative Officers’ Management Program at North Carolina State University.

Candidates were subjected to a detailed interview process and background review over the past few weeks. Bryan Beatty, secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, recommended the promotions to the governor.

Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin told WRAL News before the selections were announced that the right person for the top job would be "a strong leader who will get out and work with the community closely."

He acknowledged that the new leader will face challenges relating to the patrol's image and reputation.

"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.

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.

A four-month evaluation cited 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.

“We're currently soliciting input from the rank and file, and we'll be making decisions and having an opportunity to implement strategies to continue to move the organization forward,” Wilson said.

“I'm very proud to be a member of the Highway Patrol,” Hatcher said.

The appointments become effective next Tuesday.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • RonnieR Jun 25, 2008

    By law, the Colonel must have completed the NCSHP basic training. Would not find a lot of folks who would go through that just to get an appointment to serve at the pleasure of the Guv.

  • Tater Salad Jun 25, 2008

    you are jealous you cannot even come close to the integrity of the NCSHP.

    and you are the same old tiresome excuse I hear everytime I voice disposition with the patrol, devoid of logic and overall common sense. A person has intergrity, a group of people blindly following their brothers statewide without personally knowing them is what's known as a gang.

    the patrol is the best, and you are nothing.

    the best at what? being a political cesspool of small government officials with more power than sense? Hey, while you're talking can you tell me why the Chief of the Police Benevolent Association claimed the Kroll review was a fruad? Why Kroll failed to address the issues of misconduct? Why no one like you commented on the story regarding an internal affairs captain caught rigging a collision report and his punishment was merely "reassignment" instead of criminal charges like the average joe citizen would have gotten?

    I didn't think you could....

  • Tarheel born Jun 24, 2008

    Headly Lamar.......I see jealousy of one of the top 3 state police organizations in the U.S. runs deep in you. You could only wish you could experience the kind of brotherhood that exists in the law enforcement, fire, rescue and military families. But you washed out already.

  • freddie cadetti 72 Jun 24, 2008

    Hey Hedley...you are no Harvey Korman. Point of fact, you are jealous you cannot even come close to the integrity of the NCSHP. Yes, there are exceptions to every organization, but the patrol is the best, and you are nothing.

    72nd Basic School '83

  • Tater Salad Jun 24, 2008

    "it's always politics in the Patrol"

    not for such a honest group of individuals (rolling my eyes)

    there's a reason they won't go outside their own ranks to appoint a commander

    there's also a reason they don't catch their own criminals like Mike Steele, etc

    it's nothing more than a politically influenced gang of badge wearing thugs who can't see the forest for the trees

    the day they question their own brothers instead of blindly defending them without even knowing them and the day they release internal investigations for public record instead of hiding them and trying to cover up their own "brothers" wrong doing is the day they will sink like a rock in the eyes of the public

    but then again, there's a reason they won't do any of the above....


  • iwondersometimes Jun 24, 2008

    I personally know Jamie Hatcher and he not only deserves this appointment but will do very well at this post. Unfortunately, when Easley goes out I am sure the new governor will shake things up...it's always politics in the Patrol. But best of luck Lt. Colonel Hatcher in your new position. At least your retirement just went up!

  • The Fox Jun 24, 2008

    Just saying the new admin will put their own folks in place.

  • Panther Jun 24, 2008

    Another member of the ol' boys club.

    My gosh, give the guy a chance! Time will tell if he is a hero or a Zero.

  • bkallen04 Jun 24, 2008


  • The Fox Jun 24, 2008

    Will have a short term since he's Easleys appointment.