Local News

Texts, e-mails of former Highway Patrol spokesman reveal flirtation

Posted June 30, 2010 2:09 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2010 7:12 p.m. EDT

— Officials on Wednesday released text messages and e-mails in the investigation into a long-time state Highway Patrol spokesman.

Maj. Everett Clendenin, who served as spokesman for the state agency for nine years, resigned one week ago amid an internal investigation into inappropriate text messages to his secretary.

He had been on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the probe, which began two weeks ago.

In the text messages, Clendenin refers to the woman as "addicting." He also calls her "sweetie and cutie."

Clendenin sent hundreds of text messages to the woman over a three-month period.

"I do know you and I luv (sic) what I see," one message on May 28 read.

"I can only speak for me you can't hide your true feelings. Your eyes and smile tell the whole story," he wrote later that day.

Throughout the text messages, Clendenin used emoticons for kisses and hearts.

On May 30, Clendenin sent the following message, " Yea u would not be laughing if u knew what I was thinking. You'd be moaning."

A June 6 message read, "You were on fire last night."

"I used poor judgment while exchanging text messages with a co-worker. Most of our messages had little meaning because we both were cutting up; however, I realize my conduct was not professional and this should not have happened," Clendenin said in a statement. "I have apologized to my family, friends, (Department of Crime Control and Public Safety) Secretary (Reuben) Young, and (Highway Patrol Commander) Col. (Randy) Glover for the embarrassment my actions have caused."

Clendenin, who had been with the patrol since May 1988, was promoted to major in March and served as the head of its Support Services.

He began working in the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety's Public Affairs Office as a sergeant in December 2001, and in recent years, defended the patrol's integrity after several cases of trooper misconduct – ranging from profiling to sexual misconduct to animal abuse.

Clendenin told WRAL News that there was no physical contact between him and the secretary in the matter that is under investigation.

Both Gov. Bev Perdue and Glover have adopted a zero-tolerance policy for misconduct issues – a measure, Young said, to which the Patrol is committed to keep the confidence and trust of the people.

"I think 99 percent of the members of the Highway Patrol get up every day committed to doing a good job, and I would dare say, do a good job," Young said. "I think it's unfortunate that when you have incidences that involve individuals who make bad decisions that it's a reflection on the patrol."

In May, Glover sent a memo to all troopers saying those who embarrass the organization would be "dealt with."

"It's unfortunate, from time to time, that we have people who make bad decisions, exercise poor judgment," Young said. "And when they do that, we address those issues within the confines and the policies of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol."