Perdue: 'Zero tolerance' for trooper misconduct
Gov. Beverly Perdue expressed frustration Friday over the latest case involving a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper that has resulted in a criminal investigation.
A series of misconduct cases involving troopers has rocked the Highway Patrol's image over the past several years.
A number of troopers and officers have been disciplined or fired for offenses that included profiling young women for traffic stops, drunken driving, animal abuse and having sex on duty.
Larry B. Lovick, 31, who stepped down Monday, was the second trooper to resign in recent weeks. That same day, Highway Patrol Col. Randy Glover requested the State Bureau of Investigation to look into Lovick's conduct.
Sources told WRAL News that Lovick put a young woman suspected of underage drinking in his patrol car on May 24 and that the woman claimed that he convinced her to remove her top, handcuffed her, exposed himself and later drove her around in his patrol car.
WRAL News has learned of several women who tell similar, disturbing stories. Each alleges that, during a traffic stop, Lovick ordered them into his car and exposed himself. The accusations span a year’s time.
"There is zero tolerance in this state for this kind of misbehavior," Perdue said.
"I'm a woman. I'm concerned about the allegations. I pray I don't get pulled over, but if I do, for the most part, I'm going to trust I'm talking to the 99.9 percent who are really good patrolmen and women," she said.
Lovick, who had been with the Highway Patrol since June 2004 and was assigned to Troop C in Wake County, said Wednesday he has "been done wrong," but he declined to comment on specific allegations.
He said he resigned because he thought he was about to be fired, and he wanted to protect his wife and children from the accusations.
Trooper Dillon Canady, who was stationed in Lenoir County, quit the agency on May 21. The Highway Patrol won't discuss why he stepped down after only a few months on the job, but sources told WRAL News that it involved off-duty conduct that wasn't sexual in nature.
Perdue said she stands behind Glover's leadership of the Highway Patrol. She was also quick to defend the vast majority of troopers who she said don't get recognized for doing an honorable job.
"They are tremendous public servants, and you have a few bad apples who are making them all be embarrassed," she said. "It's just not acceptable for the citizens of our state, and it's not acceptable for this organization that I really do respect."