New leader takes reigns of NC Highway Patrol

Colonel Michael W. Gilchrist (Image courtesy North Carolina Highway Patrol)

October 30, 2010 8:15:52 AM PDT
Gov. Beverly Perdue named her choice to lead North Carolina's embattled Highway Patrol Friday.

He is Lt. Colonel Michael W. Gilchrist, who is the current interim commander.

"For a quarter century, Colonel Gilchrist has helped safeguard the safety of the people of North Carolina and demonstrated exceptional leadership all along the way," said Perdue in a news release.

The announcement comes three months after Perdue's first choice to lead the Patrol - Col. Randy Glover - stepped down after only a year on the job.

Glover's departure came after continued reports of trooper misconduct.

A panel appointed by Perdue recommended in September that she select the patrol's next commander under current rules that make it very difficult for an outsider to be appointed to run the agency of 1,800 troopers.

Gilchrist, a Plymouth native, has served on the Patrol since 1986. He is a graduate of East Carolina University - earning a bachelor of science degree in political science.

He told ABC11 Friday that his long experience with the Patrol is an asset.

"One of the things that's going to help me is having a very solid understanding of the Highway Patrol - where it's been, where it is now - and help to use that information and move forward," he said.

The panel appointed by Perdue made other recommendations and is expected to make more.

"I look forward to any input the panel has, and again, I was at a lot of the panel meetings and I've heard what they have to say," said Gilchrist.

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