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McCrory names NC law enforcement chiefs

Posted March 28, 2013 10:10 a.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2013 6:35 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday named the commanders of three North Carolina law enforcement agencies under his control.

McCrory named Col. William Grey to lead the State Highway Patrol, FBI agent Gregory Baker to head the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement and Clayton Police Chief Glen Allen as chief of the State Capitol Police.

"We are indebted to these brave men and women who put on the uniform every day and to their families," McCrory said, calling law enforcement the "fine line between our freedom and our safety."

Grey, 52, of Cary, has been with the Highway Patrol for 22 years, including a stint as chief of its special operations unit, according to McCrory, who said Gray "understands leadership by example."

The governor cited Trooper Michael Potts, who was shot last month while making a traffic stop in Durham, as an example of the dangers law enforcement officers face in their daily duties. He said he plans to invite Potts to the Executive Mansion for steak and lobster dinner once the trooper's jaw heals from the shooting.

"I'm proud of the black and gray," McCrory said of the Highway Patrol. "We're going to bring pride to that uniform across this state and among all the personnel."

The agency has seen numerous officers resign, face discipline or be fired in recent years for infractions ranging from profiling young women for traffic stops and animal abuse to drunken driving and having sex on duty.

The State Capitol Police also was scarred recently when acting chief Tony Asion and another officer were fired amid an internal investigation of outside employment by officers on the force. Gray has served as acting Capitol Police chief in recent weeks.

"The demands of a law enforcement officer can be overwhelming at times, and we appreciate the commitment it takes to provide loyal service to this state," McCrory said, adding that he expects all officers to "uphold the agency's highest standards and give us your best."

"People are looking at men and women in uniform for respect, and we will follow through with that," he said.

Baker, 49, of Raleigh, has served with the FBI in Raleigh, Charlotte and Washington, D.C., and has worked closely with local law enforcement agencies, which the governor said is a key role for ALE.

McCrory said he wants ALE to target underage drinking and drug use, calling it "one of the most serious issues in this state and our nation." He said he also wants more attention on "the cartel issues" but didn't elaborate.

Allen has headed the Clayton Police Department for seven years and was Henderson police chief before that.

McCrory credited the Capitol Police for alerting authorities to a January fire in a computer closet in a Department of Administration building. He said his proposed budget calls for adding officers to the force.

State Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin swore in Grey, along with Lt. Col. Gary Bell, 50, of Raleigh, as deputy commander of the Highway Patrol and patrol Lt. Col. Billy Clayton, 46, of Burlington. Bell served as the patrol's acting commander since January, when Col. Michael Gilchrist retired.

McCrory said Baker and Allen need to finish up at their current jobs before they can be sworn in for their new positions on May 1.