ABC11 obtains HP recommendations to Gov.

December 22, 2010 4:14:11 PM PST
A letter obtained by the ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team reveals new information about the Highway Patrol and the blue-ribbon advisory panel the governor appointed to help clean up the troubled agency.Click here to read a letter of proposed recommendations

Over the summer, the Highway Patrol was rocked by embarrassment after embarrassment --in some cases senior officers were at the heart of the allegations.

In response, Governor Perdue appointed a six person panel to take a hard look at the agency and offer advice on four things.

In September, they made two of them -- how to rebuild the integrity of the patrol and policy at the patrol. They asked for more time for the other two --whether a state law requiring the patrol's colonel to come from within the ranks should change and how to rebuild the integrity of the patrol.

Last week, the governor told ABC11 that some members of the panel were happy to leave it at that.

Click here to read that story

But a draft letter written by former FBI agent and advisory panel member Chris Swecker reveals a different story.

It offers a series of ideas on those two issues.

On integrity, Swecker suggests a trail audit of serious misconduct cases that focus on the root cause of the problem.

He also suggests a re-investigation of every sworn employee every five years or before promotions. Along with having a quarterly report of disciplinary actions distributed throughout the Highway Patrol and to make it public.

And to have a review of other state law enforcement agencies to see how North Carolina compares, as well as the creation of a disciplinary matrix to offer guidance when problems do happen.

Swecker points out many of the suggestions were made in 2008 in an independent review of the Highway Patrol called "The Kroll Report."

Of 15 recommendations in that report, he says one was rejected and eight are still under study or only partially implemented.

And on the other issue of changing the law to allow for an outsider to become colonel, Swecker says the law should be changed to draw from a bigger pool of candidates who could bring in new ideas.

It's unclear if Swecker's ideas will find traction, but back in September Governor Perdue said she "expected to follow their recommendations, otherwise they would be wasting their time" and she would be wasting her's.

Meanwhile, the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety has commented on the letter and circulated a revised draft to the advisory panel asking them for comments.

After which, presumably, some form of the letter would go to the governor.

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