Perdue announces steps to change Highway Patrol

Governor Perdue speaks to reporters about changes at the NC Highway Patrol
July 7, 2010 1:53:51 PM PDT
There was no immediate big shakeup within the North Carolina Highway Patrol Wednesday following a meeting between Governor Beverly Perdue and 160 Patrol supervisors.

Perdue called the meeting after a series of high profile embarrassments for the department - including the resignation of a major and scandals involving inappropriate sex, K-9 abuse, and drunk driving.

The Governor has been under increasing pressure to do something about the problems. Last week, the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association sent out a strongly worded news release calling for a full-scale investigation of the resignation of Major Everett Clendenin.

Clendenin announced he was stepping down in June after thousands of text messages he sent to a subordinate became public. The flirtatious texts suggested an inappropriate relationship, but Clendenin denied any physical contact between himself and the woman.

Following the Clendenin resignation and the arrests and firings involving other troopers, some had suggested a change in leadership at the patrol was warranted. But Perdue said Wednesday she's sticking by Colonel Randy Glover who she named to lead the Patrol a year ago.

Click here to watch the Perdue news conference

Still, she told reporters that she had told Troopers that "perception is reality" and a small percentage of bad apples are "killing the image of the Highway Patrol."

She did not announce any immediate changes in the leadership of the patrol. Instead, Perdue said she wanted the department leaders to "do it the old fashioned way." She wants supervisors to "mentor, train, teach, and supervise."

She announced a four step plan for change:

1) Ethics training for all Troopers who must then sign a zero tolerance code of conduct.

2) Supervisors must undergo ethics and management training.

3) There will be zero tolerance for anyone who violates their oath

4) Glover and Secretary of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety Reuben F. Young will submit to Perdue a restructuring plan for the Patrol. Perdue says leadership is heavily based in Raleigh and she wants more people in the field.

Perdue gave Glover 60 days to come up with the restructuring plan. She said she wants the patrol restored "to a paramilitary organization that is run with discipline and rigorous activity and rigorous efforts."

She said she has asked Young and Glover to visit every Highway Patrol district in the state in the next two weeks.

When it was pointed out to Perdue by a reporter that Troopers already have to sign a zero-tolerance code of conduct, she said "it is a new day" and Glover and Young will reinforce that Troopers serve at the pleasure of the Governor and she means business.

"They know that their job is on the line," said Perdue.

Asked if she anticipated any changes at the top levels of the patrol, Perdue said she anticipated bringing in some civilians and have "a little bit of a flavor change," but she stopped short of predicting any firings.

Perdue also addressed an article in the News and Observer published Wednesday that traced her long friendship with Glover and suggested she played a role in his career long before she promoted him to lead the department.

"Colonel Glover got to where he was because of his record and his excellence to serve," said Perdue.

When pressed later on the issue, Perdue said "Randy Glover never asked me for a thing …I don't intervene in promotions."

After that, a Perdue aide ended questions and ushered Perdue away from the lectern.

Glover was next to face reporters, and he was asked why he did not speak to the media after Clendenin's resignation and after some of the other problems within the patrol - instead letting a department spokesperson handle it. Glover said mainly he is busy running a very large department.

"If I come out every day that something pops up with the organization and if I have to constantly defend it then I'm in front of you guys every day," he offered.

Glover said the actions of a few were bringing down the overall reputation of the department.

"We're going to take care of the problems that we have. It gets magnified through the media," he said.

Glover asked the public and the media to recognize positive things about the Highway Patrol too.

"We don't mind you telling what the problems are, but tell the good to," he said. "We got people who put their life on the line for the people of this state who aren't recognized for the good that they do."

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