Highway Patrol commander steps down

Randy Glover

July 17, 2010 5:16:31 AM PDT
Governor Beverly Perdue said Friday she's accepted the resignation of North Carolina Highway Patrol commander Colonel Randy Glover.

"This morning I met with Highway Patrol Colonel Randy Glover and [Secretary of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety] Reuben Young. After a brief discussion I accepted the colonel’s resignation," she said in a statement. "I appreciate Colonel Glover’s years of dedication to North Carolina and his leadership to the Highway Patrol."

Perdue's spokesperson said Glover will officially retire on Sept. 1.

The Highway Patrol has been beset by a series of embarrassing incidents recently - 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.

Just last week, it appeared Perdue was standing by Glover. He appeared with her and Secretary Young at a news conference following her meeting with some 160 Highway Patrol managers.

She said she'd instructed both of them to come up with a reform plan for the organization.

It's not clear what has changed from last week to this, but Glover is out.

"Next week I will announce the members of a Highway Patrol transition leadership team of outside advisors to work with the Secretary as a new colonel is selected," said Perdue.

Perdue said that she expects a report accomplishing three things by September 1:

1) Recommendations on the Highway Patrol's structure and policies - including a new commander.

2) Recommendations on possible issues the Legislature can address to advance reform

3) Recommendations on ways to rebuild "the focus on integrity, honor and the proud heritage of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol."

In her announcement, Perdue said once again that she believes the reputation of the department has been tarnished by few bad apples.

"Again, I continue to believe that 99.9% of the members of the North Carolina Highway Patrol serve the state with honor and integrity, and I thank them for that service," she said.

Young spoke with reporters late Friday about Glover's resignation. He said the colonel stepped down because he didn't want to be a distraction.

Young said as he moves forward with reforms, everything is on the table.

"I think you should look at all the options you have to improve an organization and that's what we'll do," said Young.

Glover's announcement came the same day ABC11 obtained a copy of an open letter sent to the colonel and Governor Perdue which purports to be from rank and file Troopers.

Click here to read the letter (.pdf)

The letter is highly critical of Patrol leadership, the command structure and promotion process. It claims promotion is based on politics and not the best interests of the department.

The letter is just the latest in a series of calls for change.

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 a state law that requires the commander come from within the Highway Patrol.

"We need someone completely free of questions of political influence and political patronage," Sinsheimer said. "We need an outsider to come in and take the reins of the patrol and change the culture. Anything short of that would be a mistake."

Perdue's political opponents also weighed in.

"Colonel Glover’s resignation is the first step in restoring the morale and the hard-earned reputation of the State Highway Patrol as a first rate law enforcement agency. Now it is incumbent upon Governor Perdue to effectively address the ongoing issues that are plaguing the State Highway Patrol and appoint a new commander who is qualified to lead it," offered Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham).

Glover is a Nashville native who has served on the patrol since 1980. He became colonel last year after serving as director of field operations. He acknowledged last year that he was transferred from a position in 1987 because of an extramarital affair.

Glover's resignation followed the high profile resignation of Highway Patrol Major Everett Clendenin.

Clendenin - once the main spokesperson for the Patrol - resigned June 23 after he was placed on administrative leave while officials investigated a hundreds of text messages he sent to his secretary - a woman who is married to another Highway Patrol Trooper.

The flirtatious messages suggested an inappropriate relationship, but Clendenin told ABC11 in a statement that was not the case.

"There was never any physical contact between us. They were meaningless texts. It was wrong, inappropriate and unprofessional. It should not have happened. I am sorrowful for my actions. I am deeply hurt about my actions and the embarrassment they have caused the organization."

Clendenin is not the only Trooper to have problems. After he resigned, Trooper Timothy Scott Stiwinter was charged with drunken driving and felony hit and run after a wreck in Asheville.

Earlier this year, Captain James Williams Jr. was fired after it was revealed he was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving in Butner. Several Butner officers were fired for allegedly taking Williams to a hotel instead of arresting him.

There have been several other resignations and firings this year - in many cases, the reasons were not released citing privacy rules.

There have also been many allegations of sexual misconduct. Since 1998, at least 30 members of the Patrol have been disciplined or fired for inappropriate sexual behavior, including having on-duty sex encounters in and on their patrol cars.

In 2008, the Kroll consulting firm made headlines when it found many Highway Patrol officers perceived sex on duty was an expected fringe benefit.

Following her meeting with Troopers last week, Perdue said all officers would go through new ethics training and would once again sign a zero tolerance code of conduct.

During a press conference earlier this month, Glover 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," Glover told the station. "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."

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