WRAL Investigates

WRAL Investigates: Highway Patrol's internal affairs complaints

Posted July 22, 2010

— From restructuring to hiring a new leader, the North Carolina Highway Patrol is in for change. High profile cases of troopers getting in trouble have plagued the patrol for the past few years. So how often are troopers getting in trouble?

The WRAL Investigates team looked at internal affairs investigations involving sworn officers for the past few years to see if the firings were out of the norm.

From 2006 to 2009, an average of 17 troopers resigned or were fired amid an investigation each year, which is less than 1 percent of the force. Neighboring Tennessee reported a similar rate, and Virginia’s was lower.

The highest percentage of internal affairs complaints of sworn officers was in Troop D, which stretches from Lee County north of Greensboro. The lowest percentage of complaints was in Troop G in the mountains.

“That small percentage that we read or hear about every day are killing the image of the patrol,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “A few can destroy the many, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to fix it.”

Complaints can range from job performance, such as not doing paperwork, to fictitious illness or injury to serious conduct issues like one case of obstructing an investigation.

The reports showed more than 60 percent of complaints were substantiated year after year, and most complaints didn't come from the outside – they were mostly troopers reporting other troopers.

Perdue is working to appoint a transition team to replace the head of the Highway Patrol, Col. Randy Glover, who announced unexpectedly on Friday that he would step down on Sept. 1. Perdue's announcement could come Friday. Until then, she has urged Highway Patrol leaders to visit with troopers across the state.

“I’ve urged the local leaders, the first sergeants in the districts, the leadership and the troops across the state to get out in the field, to do it the old fashioned way, to find out what’s going on with the men and women in the patrol. Sort out those at risk, to mentor, to teach and to supervise,” she said.

John Midgette with the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, which represents troopers, said he believes the problems are at the top.

“I don’t think replacing a colonel is as much an issue as finding out what’s going on above the colonel,” he said.

Midgette points to Troop X, which includes trooper headquarters in Raleigh, the aviation unit, motor unit and training academy. Complaints were evenly mixed in most troops between job performance issues and personal conduct issues, except Troop X.

Complaints weren’t necessarily higher in Troop X, but personal conduct issues far out weighed job performance issues.

In 2007, one officer was in trouble for seeking or accepting gifts, favors or bribes. Another was in trouble for bias-based profiling.

“I think X marks the spot here, and the Archdale crowd has a lot to do with where the investigation needs to start,” Midgette said.

39 Comments

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  • apoenc Jul 26, 11:13 a.m.

    Troop G in the western part of the state is ranked the lowest in complaints? Interesting. I personally know individuals who have been bullied, harassed and treated unfairly by Troop G, and if you attempt to deal with it internally, you are facing the "good ole boy" system in which they have an underhanded way of slipping everything under the rug. Perhaps the survey reflects the least amount of complaints, but it is NOT because the troopers in that area are innocent; it is because the citizens in the western part of the state are uninformed of their rights and are often discouraged from filing a complaint. I know someone who filed a complaint that was well merited, and it was interesting to observe how it was swept under the rug, in Troop G's attempt to protect the trooper. I am hoping that Tom Fetzer and Gov Purdue will investigate Troop G a bit more. Perhaps they should speak with the citizens in the western part of the state, as I think it would be a real eye opener.

  • thepeopleschamp Jul 23, 4:57 p.m.

    kodac31, I also agree 100%. I enjoy the quality of wral.com in their other articles, but I have long grown tired of each time I go to see what the Durham Bulls did the night before there is another silly HP headline. I would love to see wral put it's money where its headlines are. Publish the text messages of wral employees with a company cell phone, or post every past and pending court case and complaints of wral employees. Now that is an article I would click on. To keep it fair wtvd could do the investigative reporting. Just report the news, not make it up. So, who are the Bulls playing tonight?

  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 23, 3:42 p.m.

    I am not a cop hater nor a criminal, So not all of us are criminals or cop hater's, the bad ones done it to themselves. I stand for what I believe is right, I don't stand up for what is wrong, I support are police depts,such as the HP, I DON'T AGREE WITH THE ACTIONS that some have done such as Drinking & driving, making passes to women, doing drugs, using there badge to get away with things, & I can keep going. But there are some that do there jobs but there are some that aren't doing anything but committing crimes or not doing there jobs the way they are suppose to.

  • kodac31 Jul 23, 3:19 p.m.

    Leo-nc,

    We are on the same page here. Same careers. Both equally disgusted with the way WRAL has launched an "assualt at all cost" on the NCSHP which started back in 2007 and has been non-stop ever sense. WRAL obviously doesn't realize its just not me and you that feels this way about them, but the ENTIRE law enforcement family and community in the ENTIRE state is leading an effort to REPUDIATE WRAL. We are also finding plenty of support from the vast majority of the news viewing public who are sick and tired of this tabloid attack reporting on our SHP trying to destroy this great agency. Thats why the latest poll done showed the public backed and supported the NCSHP at a rate of 74%...So obviously WRAL gets their "kicks" outta the minority of those who are their criminal viewers or just "cop haters". I also find it hilarious they have sent you an email trying to provide you with an "explaination" for their wilfully and wanton OUTRAGEOUS behavior. You should have written them one bac

  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 23, 3:06 p.m.

    anitov: For the beginning of the comments I said that I reported some HP that were doing illegal activities & I am saying that I reported it & the government should or needs to look at it. And someone asked me were they doing anything illegal or what. & I wrote back that they are doing illegal things. That is what I am saying so what are you saying that you don't understand? Maybe I can get you to understand.

  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 23, 2:59 p.m.

    llsnyder1 I agree, they have an some have attitudes some do & some are caring. I have problems with all different kind of law enforcement, & there are some that will take the time to understand me & they are nice as they can be. I have a couple police officers in different branches that I respect so much, & I think God every min. that they put there life on the line just like military, & there are bad people everywhere you just have to find out who is good & who is bad.

  • thepeopleschamp Jul 23, 2:54 p.m.

    "...no one is going to know what I am talking about..." Heartless

    You got that right. No one is going to understand what you are posting.

  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 23, 2:53 p.m.

    The people on the 4 wheelers were called on several times. They came out there, they saw them, talk to parents & the HP was taking gifts for one thing, then the HP turns around after we kept calling again. They got to the point that they want worried & I kept telling them what they were doing & they were going to get hurt, someone needs to do something. Nothing was done then the boy got killed. This is one thing that I remember & there is something that I would say that is going on but I can't I want them to look at something & the government knows what it is.

  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 23, 2:45 p.m.

    And what I mean by doing there job is not doing illegal activities, & if something is going on they should help someone instead of being part of it, or do there job & help someone because that is there job. And no one is going to know what I am talking about because I am not going to say what happen & what is happening now, Because I want the government to do there job and listen & look for themselves instead of acting like kids.

  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 23, 2:42 p.m.

    Ok. For those of you that don't understand, I am just remembering one thing that happen & I am talking about it.
    What I reported is between me & the government. It is up to the government to do there job on doing there job. I am not going to say who or what was turned it, & YES THESE ACTIVITIES ARE ILLEGAL VERY ILLEGAL if they were good cops they would have done there job.

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