PBA still wants Patrol investigation

July 8, 2010 2:41:14 PM PDT
The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association responded Thursday to North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue's plan for reforming the Highway Patrol.

The Patrol has had a series series of high profile embarrassments - including the resignation of a major and scandals involving inappropriate sex, K-9 abuse, and drunk driving. The incidents have prompted calls for reform and a change in leadership.

Perdue met with 160 Patrol managers Wednesday and then spoke to reporters. While she made no leadership changes, she announced a four-step plan for reform - including making troopers re-sign a zero-tolerance code of conduct.

Perdue said she's given Colonel Randy Glover and Secretary of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety Reuben Young 60 days to come up with a restructuring plan for the agency.

She said she wants the patrol restored "to a paramilitary organization that is run with discipline and rigorous activity and rigorous efforts."

The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association has been a vocal critic of the Highway Patrol leadership - calling for an investigation of former Patrol Major Everett Clendenin who resigned his job in June following the release of a series of flirtatious text messages he sent his secretary who is married to another Trooper.

Thursday, the PBA said it has been contacted by Perdue's office for a meeting to talk about the Highway Patrol. It said it hoped the meeting would take place within the next week.

It reiterated its call for an investigation.

"PBA strongly believes that the first critical step is for Governor Perdue to call for the investigation and prosecution of Patrol officials who have made admissions constituting apparent violations of criminal law," read a news release. "Further, recent court orders with findings of severe misconduct by Patrol management officials must be respected and acted upon."

"The Governor’s announcement Wednesday is obviously only a minimum first step," the press release continued.

It said the scandals would continue unless meaningful reform is implemented.

Others have called for Perdue to change the leadership of the Highway Patrol.

North Carolina government watchdog Joe Sinsheimer said after Perdue's news conference that Perdue's changes only scratch the surface of the problem.

"What we saw today was good old girl politics at its worst," he offered. "Just re-shuffling the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, isn 't going to get the job done."

Sinsheimer says the Patrol needs a cultural change - one that he says won't happen unless there is new leadership.

"There were a lot of North Carolinians that were hoping that Colonel Glover would get replaced today but the governor seems unwilling to turn against her friend," he said.

Just this year, nine Troopers have left the force after either resigning or being fired for inappropriate conduct. Colonel Randy Glover told reporters Wednesday that those are just a few bad apples and defended his troopers and himself.

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

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