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Panel: Commander should come from patrol ranks

Posted September 1, 2010

— A blue-ribbon panel recommended Wednesday that Gov. Bev Perdue select the next commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol using current rules that prevent an outsider from being appointed.

Perdue asked the patrol’s Leadership Advisory Group to report back to her by Wednesday, the last day on the job for patrol commander Col. Randy Glover.

"They have made strong recommendations about how to proceed in identifying a new commander, and Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Reuben Young and the patrol plan to move forward with those steps,” Perdue said in a statement.

State law essentially narrows the choice for commander to those within the agency. The advisory group says Perdue should act now rather than wait to try to change that rule in the General Assembly in 2011 so that the patrol isn't left with an "indefinite limbo" in its leadership.

Perdue said she plans to name an acting commander until a replacement for Glover can be named. He unexpectedly announced in July that he would step down, saying he didn't want to become a target for the patrol's critics.

"I actually hope that we have that in place in the next day or two, and then I hope it's fairly seamless," she said. "If the report from the committee says we can do it quickly, we'll do it quickly. I have full confidence in the committee and look forward to working with them in the selection process."

The Highway Patrol's image has been plagued in recent years by a number of cases involving state troopers who have resigned, been fired or been disciplined for inappropriate or questionable conduct, including profiling, drunken driving, animal abuse, sex on duty and inappropriate text messages.

Perdue formed the advisory panel to help Young devise a restructuring plan for the agency, but the group said it needs more time to develop recommendations on possible legislative reforms and how to rebuild the patrol's focus on integrity and honor.

"These are issues of significant complexity, and the group needs additional information regarding disciplinary complaints and actions in order to determine whether past acts of personal misconduct are the result of individual choices/decisions or something systemic in the function of the patrol," the panel wrote in its 14-page report.

John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, said he was encouraged by the panel's stance.

"We absolutely do believe a few bad apples have caused this problem," Midgette said. "Because those bad apples are at the top of the leadership chain of the Highway Patrol, it has created a cultural problem, where there's been a disparity of treatment and, we believe, a violation of law and policy that has created horrible morale within the Highway Patrol."

On his last day on the job, Glover sent a letter to all troopers, thanking them for their hard work.

"This is my last day that I officially wear the uniform of a North Carolina State Trooper," he wrote.

"However, I will be a Trooper for eternity. No one will ever take my pride and the respect I have for this organization."

Noting the urgency of putting a new commander in place, however, the panel recommended hiring someone with a solid record in the Highway Patrol who has completed outside leadership training courses and can pass rigorous background checks and not waiting to find someone from outside.

Panel members also recommended shifting 18 people from patrol headquarters in Raleigh to district offices across the state within two years to achieve a goal of having one supervisor for every eight troopers statewide.

Several policy changes were also suggested, including requiring troopers to live in the county that they patrol, allowing managers to review staffers' personal cell phone bills, requiring troopers to notify supervisors when the have people of the opposite sex in their patrol cars and using a list of top performers to govern promotions.

The Highway Patrol also should contract with the Gen. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center or the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association to create ethics and leadership training programs, the panel said.

Panel members were University of North Carolina law professors Julius Chambers and Norma Houston, former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Peter Gilchrist, former state Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Walker and former state Supreme Court Justice Burley Mitchell.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • davidbh61255 Sep 3, 2010

    Ain't this what got us here?? Cloaks of secrecy from within!!

  • Sherlock Sep 2, 2010

    I know 2 that would be great as the Commander of the SHP, Andy or Barn from Mayberry, now they could run the SHP as it should be. BUt if you want a department that is run the way it should be get Trp. Ron Starling or 1Sgt. Freddy Johnson both are outstand officers and know how to get it done right.

  • Allen Kent Kelly Sep 2, 2010

    This is the right decision! To the members of the panel that worked to provide our Governor with this most important guidance, UNC law professors Julius Chambers & Norma Houston, former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Peter Gilchrist, former state Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Walker and former state Supreme Court Justice Burley Mitchell, Thank You!

  • rlt197131 Sep 2, 2010

    "Go up north and find a person with a strong work ethic. That will teach the good quality standards that have been missing from this organization for some time" notagain1903

    That is one of the most arrogant statements Ive seen here yet. You obviously have a skewed view of how we do things down here. There are plenty of candidates within the Patrol to select from, as the panel pointed out. Compare the SHP with Raleigh and Durham PD and see what the turnover rate is. Oh, Notagain1903, if you dont like the "good ole boy" way we do things down here, I-95 runs both ways.

  • Retired07 Sep 2, 2010

    Until you free the SHP and SBI from the politics(and that ain t happnin)you will be saddled with cronnies that will do the revolving door thing depending how much heat is on or who is in the Gov's office at the time. I say divert most of that tax waste on fancy fast cars, helicopters, motorcycles, new guns every time someone suggest it to the local level and it would drastically cut the waste and a lot of the embarassment with the current system in Raleigh and save sooo much money.

  • notagain1903 Sep 2, 2010

    They need to get someone far removed from "The good ole boy" network. Go up north and find a person with a strong work ethic. That will teach the good quality standards that have been missing from this organization for some time. How hard is it to sit in your car all day and JUST write tickets?!?!?! Or worse yet KILL an innocent family at a stop light, and to have him cleared by "his peers", just to write another ticket. The best action to take is to disband them completely. There are plenty of "meters" in our cities that need to be watched over. The cross training should be very easy. Most candidates can due it in a week it should only take them a month and they are ready for duty.

  • rlt197131 Sep 2, 2010

    Its funny that the media still uses the terms "troubled and beleagured" when describing the SHP. Both of those are great eye catchers to grab headlines, but dont accurately describe the Orginization. They are still answering calls and doing their job, despite the media blitz for headlines. How many other agencies have a 1% or less rate of disciplinary dismissals? I wonder if NC teachers can say the same thing? Just remember, while everyone is evacuating the coast for the Hurricane, the SHP is sending Troopers from all over the state down there to Evacuate them, and safeguard first responders, and help local departments. Remember that next time you decide to bash them.

  • UNCfuturealumi Sep 2, 2010

    Superman...don't you know why he was selected..one of her boys from down east..the next one will be as well...

  • superman Sep 2, 2010

    They should just appoint someone temporary until they can get the law changed. Someone "OUTSIDE" the agency. The SHP needs a real shake down. I am retired, never been stopped, never had a ticket and no accidents so I have no personal ax to grind. The public has lost their confidence in them totally and completely. Glover is and was a joke. Perhaps the governor would care to explain just why she selected him? His background and record was poor at best. Surely she could have done better.

  • the people Sep 1, 2010

    No ANitov ; I have right FORUM !!!!! WRAL story on this WASTE!!!