Seventy-two percent of troopers who responded to the survey say officers who excel on the job are not promoted. Fifty-nine percent of troopers say minorities get preferential treatment in promotions.
"I don't believe that managers should be afraid of what the employees have to say," said Bryan Beatty, of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. "We're basing our decisions on qualifications and merit. I believe if anyone wanted to look at the statistics on hiring and promotions, they would find nothing which would support any conclusion that there's any racial preference."
John Midgette, executive director of the Police Benevolent Association that represents 500 troopers, said some of the rank and file are telling a different story.
"What they're saying is they feel that applicants for promotions are being treated differently if they're white than if they're African-American," he said.
Some workers said Col. Richard Holden discriminates in favor of minority troopers. Holden was out of the state Friday and could not comment on this story.
A representative from Gov. Mike Easley's office said the governor is concentrating on the recent layoffs at the Pillowtex plant and would not comment on the Highway Patrol survey at this point. The patrol says it is already working on a plan to address the concerns in the survey.
Officials say 3,000 Crime Control and Public Safety employees received the survey and more than 800 responded to it.
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