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Second In Command To Take Top State Highway Patrol Job

The second in command at the State Highway Patrol has been named to the top job there. Governor Bev Perdue appointed Michael Gilchrist to reform the troubled agency. He replaces Randy Glover who resigned in July barely a week into his efforts to reform the department. Gilchrist has served on the patrol for the past twenty-four years and has been promoted every few years until he became the agency's Deputy Commander this year. Over the past two years, the state highway patrol's reputation has suffered. At least nine North Carolina Highway Patrolmen have resigned or been dismissed for misconduct, often involving sex or alcohol. Brad Crone is a political watchdog and Democratic Party strategist. He says Gilchrist is the best pick the governor could have made, considering she could only appoint someone from inside the department. "Gilchrist has risen up through the ranks. He's shown strong leadership. He's a capable administrator. But he's got a big task in front of him, having to change the culture of the highway patrol," says Crone. "Will he be an agent of change and can he be an agent of change within the department? Those are going to be the big question marks." Many had hoped to see a national search for the job, but state law requires the commander be hired from within the highway patrol's ranks. Last month, an advisory panel recommended the governor go ahead and hire a commander and not wait for state legislators to change the law.