NC Highway Patrol commander announces his retirement. Governor will pick new leader.

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Will Doran
·3 min read
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After nearly three decades as a state trooper, the commander of the N.C. Highway Patrol, Col. Glenn McNeill, announced his retirement Friday.

“In 1993, I joined this outstanding organization, as so many others before me, with the hope of making a difference in the lives of others,” McNeill said in a press release. “It has been a truly amazing journey and I have enjoyed working alongside many talented men and women, sworn and civilian of this great organization. The support I have received from each of them is second-to-none and for that, I am extremely appreciative.”

McNeill will retire on April 1, he announced, leaving over a month for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to pick his replacement to lead the state’s most high-profile law enforcement agency.

Cooper also has several-other high-profile cabinet openings that he has either recently filled or still has yet to fill.

Cooper elevated McNeill to the top job when he became governor in 2017, making McNeill the 27th commander of the Highway Patrol and the second Black man to hold the job.

“I am grateful for Colonel McNeill’s service to our state and his hard work to keep North Carolinians safe,” Cooper said. “He cares deeply for the organization and its members and has been an outstanding leader during difficult times.”

When he first rose to the top job in 2017, McNeill said he pursued a career in law enforcement because his mother was murdered as a child but the crime was never solved, he told ABC11 at the time.

McNeill grew up in Rockingham County, near Greensboro, and served in the U.S. Army before joining the Highway Patrol in 1993 and becoming a sworn-in trooper in 1994.

Erik Hooks, who as the secretary of the Department of Public Safety was McNeill’s boss, said in the press release that McNeill oversaw growth in the agency by adding more vehicles and aircraft, and that he also successfully fought for pay raises for troopers and pushed to make the agency more diverse, “recognizing the Patrol should reflect the communities they serve.”

He also dealt with several scandals during his tenure.

In 2019, two troopers were arrested for writing tickets in Harnett County that they never actually gave to people, The News & Observer reported. That led to people losing their licenses or even having warrants issued for their arrest, due to accusations that they never even knew about.

Also in 2019, the agency temporarily suspended promotions following allegations of cheating on the promotion test. An investigation later found other problems with the test and the way it was handled but no proof of cheating, The News & Observer reported.

In 2017, N.C. Auditor Beth Wood found that eight troopers were commuting long distances in their state-owned cars for work, against agency policy, The News & Observer reported, and that seven of the eight had lied about where they lived.

The next year, based on that audit, WBTV reported a separate investigation that found several senior officers had also been driving extremely long commutes in their state-owned cars, including one captain who had a 250-mile commute from his home in Asheville to his job in Raleigh, more than quadruple the official 60-mile limit in agency policy.

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