Local News

N.C. Highway Patrol commander is stepping down

Posted July 16, 2010 1:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2010 10:55 p.m. EDT

— The commander of the North Carolina's state Highway Patrol is stepping down.

Gov. Beverly Perdue said in a statement Friday that she had a brief conversation with Col. Randy Glover and accepted his resignation.

She did not elaborate on why he stepped down from the position he took less than a year ago. Staff in the governor's office said the meeting was not planned.

The move comes amid Perdue's call for restructuring the agency after a number of cases in the past few years involving troopers who have resigned, been fired or disciplined for inappropriate or questionable conduct, including profiling, drunken driving, animal abuse, sex on duty and inappropriate text messages.

Glover, who in an exclusive interview with WRAL News said he's retiring, said that the recent troubles had become a distraction for the patrol and that his leadership had become a target of critics.

"I finally saw clearly that the target was on me, for whatever reason," he said. "I don't know why it was, but it was on me. These guys and girls out there are doing what they're supposed to do, day in and day out. They don't deserve this."

Glover said some of the issues with the patrol he inherited but pointed out, he didn't tolerate any misconduct.

“If you look at the record for severe disciplinary action and dismissals, I was way above any of the previous commanders for the same period of time,” Glover said.

Perdue met with Glover and other top officials this month, pushing for a restructuring plan to help end the trooper troubles. She said Friday that she will announce a Highway Patrol transition leadership team next week that will include input from outside advisers.

Chrissy Pearson, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Glover, whose last official day on the job will be Sept. 1, will aid in the transition process.

Critics have said that Perdue should have pushed harder by making changes to patrol leadership.

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer, who last week called for Glover to step down, said Friday that his departure was overdue.

"Col. Glover's decision today is in the best interest of the Highway Patrol and the many fine men and women who wear its uniforms," Fetzer said in a statement. "North Carolina's citizens should be grateful to the members of the media for shedding light on this situation, forcing action that should have been taken weeks ago."

State law mandates that the leadership of the Highway Patrol must come from the governor, the secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety or someone within the ranks of the agency.

Joe Sinsheimer, a Democratic strategist who has spent the past several years as a watchdog of the party, said he'd like to see Perdue ask for changes to the law to open leadership of the patrol to outsiders.

"It is absolutely essential that the next commander be free of the accusations of political patronage and cronyism that dogged Col. Glover during his tenure," Sinsheimer said.

Pearson said Perdue is "open-minded" during the hiring process.

The governor had talked to state Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mike Robertson about overseeing the Highway Patrol, but Pearson said Friday that he would remain at the DMV.

Robertson, who retired as a State Bureau of Investigation agent, is a former Highway Patrol trooper and also previously headed the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement.

Glover, whom the governor appointed commander last summer, served with the Highway Patrol since 1980. Prior to heading the agency, he served as director of field operations.

During a press conference earlier this month, he indicated that he thought the press was exacerbating the force's problems. He restricted media access to a meeting with troopers Thursday in Graham.

At that meeting, Glover defended his job to WFMY-TV, saying he didn't tell individuals to make bad choices.

"I'm accountable for this organization," he said. "I'm accountable to make sure everybody understands if they violate our codes and our policies, I'm going to deal with it. And, I have dealt with it because those individuals are no longer with us."