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Budget cut would force SHP to drop accreditation

The State Highway Patrol would no longer be nationally accredited, under budget cuts the General Assembly is considering.

The five-person office that oversees the accreditation process would be eliminated in order to save about $400,000.

Losing the national recognition won’t affect the patrol’s daily operations, a spokeswoman says. But, privately, some troopers are reportedly upset the state will be dropping the designation.

“There will be no impact,” says Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Crystal Feldman.

It'll be steak & lobster with the gov for wounded trooper

The state trooper who was shot during a traffic stop in Durham will be joining Gov. Pat McCrory and his wife for a steak and lobster dinner at the mansion, the governor said Thursday.

McCrory invited Trooper Michael Potts and his family to dinner as a way of saying thanks for his service. McCrory made the remarks during a swearing-in ceremony for new State Highway Patrol leaders at the State Capitol.

Potts was shot in the face, shoulder and both hands when he pulled over a car last month. A Vermont man, Mikel Brady II, was captured and is in jail. Police said they found what appeared to be bomb-making materials and a map showing the locations of police, fire and emergency medical services in Durham when they searched the apartment where Brady had been staying with his girlfriend.

Potts is expected to fully recover and return to duty.

New law enforcement leaders named

Five new officials who will lead state law enforcement agencies were announced and sworn in at a ceremony in the State Capitol on Thursday.

Col. William J. Grey, 52, of Cary is the new commander of the State Highway Patrol. He has been with the patrol since 1991.

Gregory K. Baker, 49, of Raleigh will be the new director of the state Alcohol Law Enforcement. He is currently an FBI agent and has been assigned to the Triangle since 2008.

Glen B. Allen, 54, of Clayton will be the new chief of the State Capitol Police. Allen is currently the police chief in Clayton.

Trooper wins three-year fight for job

The decision to stop appealing a series of rulings that have gone against the state has led to the reinstatement this week of Trooper Anthony E. Scott.

Scott’s actions weren’t so much the legal issue in the case as was the state’s decision to fire him after he appealed the State Highway Patrol’s decision to demote him, cut his pay and reassign him to Charlotte in December 2009. Reuben Young, who headed what was then the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, overruled a committee he had appointed to review the case and fired Scott.

McCrory detoured to visit injured trooper after State of the State address

After giving his first State of the State address to a packed General Assembly Monday night, Gov. Pat McCrory took a detour on his way back to the governor's mansion. McCrory went to Duke University Hospital in Durham and visited Highway Patrol officer

Michael Potts, an 11-year veteran who'd been shot during a routine traffic stop Monday, just an hour before McCrory delivered his speech. He spent time with the officer's family while Potts underwent surgery.

Potts was listed in fair condition Tuesday. Police later charged a prison parolee from Vermont with his shooting. McCrory's visit was unannounced and unpublicized. A spokesman for the governor confirmed it to the Observer.

SHP colonel steps down

The head of the State Highway Patrol is stepping down, as expected with the new administration in state government.

Col. Michael Gilchrist, who has been the commander since October 2010, will retire effective Friday. His second in command, Lt. Col. Gary Bell, will serve as acting commander until a final choice is made.

Kieran Shanahan, secretary of the state Department of Public Safety, issued a statement Tuesday praising Bell’s qualifications for the job, noting he has risen through the ranks over the past 27 years.

Ex-trooper's fight for his job stays alive

A state appellate court panel this week kept alive the case of a fired state trooper who was visiting his girlfriend while on duty when her estranged husband showed up with a gun.

The three-judge panel reversed a superior court ruling that dismissed Anthony E. Scott’s lawsuit because he hadn’t paid a $20 filing fee at the time he filed a petition with the state Office of Administrative Hearings. The appellate judges interpreted administrative procedure in the ex-trooper’s favor.

Scott was visiting the woman, Jennifer Andrews, at her Pittsboro home in August 2009 when her estranged husband showed up earlier than expected with the couple’s children. The trooper went out the back door to avoid a confrontation.

Scott and the woman recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary. Now named Jennifer Scott, she is a lawyer with a firm in Raleigh. Her ex-husband, whom court documents alleged planned to kill her, the trooper and himself, later pleaded guilty to assault by pointing a gun and assault on a female, both misdemeanors.

Trooper's firing upheld

The State Highway Patrol was justified in firing a trooper who juggled his work as a Robeson County commissioner and for a nonprofit organization while on duty, an administrative law judge ruled today.

Trooper Hubert Sealey’s dismissal was made public last May, but the reason was not disclosed at the time. The details emerged in today’s decision.  Sealey had appealed on the grounds that the state didn’t have just cause to fire him and that he was discriminated against because he is black.

Trooper zaps trainee in buttocks

A State Highway Patrol training officer apparently horsing around at the Wake County Jail last month stunned a trainee in the buttocks with a Taser. The trainee resigned Wednesday, but the patrol says they have no reason to believe it was connected to the Tasing.

It happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 27, when the training officer pulled the trigger of his Taser without a cartridge loaded. That makes a loud popping noise, but doesn’t fire the weapon.

Unfortunately, the trainee trooper’s startled reaction was to jump backward into the Taser, which stunned him, according to the patrol.  The trainee wasn’t injured.

The trooper was relieved of his duties as a training officer but remains working on patrol, according to the department. The patrol considers the incident to be serious, the spokesman said, and is continuing to investigate.

The department declined to release their names, citing the state personnel law. The department  did release more information than it was required to.

The patrol began its investigation after receiving an anonymous tip on Dec. 2.

It isn't known why they were at the jail. Jail records show no one booked into the jail that day by the SHP. The patrol says the incident occurred in the magistrates' area of the building.

SHP wants to know what you think

One day after the commander of the State Highway Patrol outlined steps the agency is taking to prevent trooper misconduct, the SHP  continues to burnish its public image.

The patrol today announced an online survey to solicit public opinion about its performance. The anonymous survey – which can be found on the SHP link off the page – will be used to shape future policies, according to a news release.

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