Dissension in panel charged to look at Highway Patrol

(Image courtesy Flickr creative commons)

October 8, 2010 5:52:20 PM PDT
ABC11 has learned that some members of a blue-ribbon panel created to look at problems within the North Carolina Highway Patrol threatened not to sign its report just days before it was due.

Governor Beverly Perdue organized the advisory group after a string of ethical lapses in the Highway Patrol. The force has seen a number of troopers resign or be fired for problems ranging from drunken driving arrests to sending inappropriate text messages.

Perdue asked the group for advice on four things:

· Structure and policies at the patrol.

· The process for selecting a commander.

· The idea of changing a law which limits who can be selected as commander.

· And how to rebuild the integrity of the Highway Patrol.

Perdue named the panel July 7 and gave it until September 1 to come back with a report.

But the report the panel turned in was incomplete and didn't begin to address either legislative change or the integrity issue.

ABC11 has obtained a draft of the report circulated among panel members two days before it was due. At least two panel members weren't happy with it.

"I am not satisfied with the results and not ready to sign this document," Peter Gilchrist wrote.

Chris Swecker, a former FBI agent who co-authored a recent review of the State Bureau of Investigation's crime lab, went further.

I don't think it is a good product. I believe that in our quest to meet the September 1 deadline, we stopped well short of a meaningful review," he wrote.

"As to whether the integrity issues are real or a product of the media," he wrote. "We will never know the answer without data and some real analysis."

The next day, Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Reuben Young offered a compromise: a paragraph up front that clearly stated the report wasn't finished.

Swecker and Gilchrist signed on.

Click here to read the full report

But so far - more than a month later - sources say the data and analysis they wanted still hasn't been turned over.

In the meantime, the Highway Patrol has gone without a permanent commander.

In its report, the panel did say Governor should avoid creating "indefinite limbo" by selecting the patrol's next commander under current rules that prevent an outsider from being appointed.

The number two at the agency under Colonel Glover has been doing both jobs since Glover resigned September 1.

Perdue's camp has not said when she plans to appoint a new commander.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Most Popular
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments