Officers group wants investigation of Highway Patrol
Posted July 2, 2010 1:26 p.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2010 10:55 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association on Friday called for an investigation into the state Highway Patrol, saying the recent resignation of the agency's longtime spokesman demonstrates problems within the agency.
Maj. Everett Clendenin, who served as spokesman for the state agency for nine years, resigned last week amid an internal investigation into inappropriate text messages to his secretary.
The Highway Patrol on Wednesday released hundreds of text messages from Clendenin that included flirting and terms of endearment.
Clendenin has said there was no physical contact between himself and the secretary, and he said in a statement that he used "poor judgment" in sending the messages.
“Is Mr. Clendenin going to be charged for misuse of state property for his personal use of patrol equipment? Will he be required to reimburse the taxpayers for his time while playing his titillating little games?” PBA executive director John Midgette said in a statement.
Midgette criticized Clendenin's handling of several previous trooper misconduct cases, saying his public statements "caused grave harm" to several troopers.
"He has been an embarrassment to the patrol and the whole state for years," Midgette said. "His departure will hopefully help the patrol rebuild some of its integrity."
Clendenin blasted back Friday night, saying, "Midgette's release is ridiculous and inaccurate, as are most of his comments about the Highway Patrol. Midgette is known for offering statements on topics he knows nothing about.”
The PBA wants Gov. Bev Perdue to order an independent investigation of the Highway Patrol's management. Perdue and patrol commander Col. Randy Glover have adopted a zero-tolerance policy for trooper misconduct cases.