Article 4.

State Highway Patrol.

§ 20-184.  Patrol under supervision of Department of Public Safety.

The Secretary of Public Safety, under the direction of the Governor, shall have supervision, direction and control of the State Highway Patrol. The Secretary shall establish in the Department of Public Safety a State Highway Patrol Division, prescribe regulations governing the Division, and assign to the Division such duties as the Secretary may deem proper.  (1935, c. 324, s. 2; 1939, c. 387, s. 1; 1941, c. 36; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 70, ss. 13, 14, 15; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g), (hh); 2015-241, s. 16A.7(i).)

 

§ 20-185.  Personnel; appointment; salaries.

(a)        The State Highway Patrol shall consist of a commanding officer, who shall be appointed by the Governor and whose rank shall be designated by the Governor, and such additional subordinate officers and members as the Secretary of Public Safety, with the approval of the Governor, shall direct. Members of the State Highway Patrol shall be appointed by the Secretary, with the approval of the Governor, and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and Secretary. The commanding officer, other officers and members of the State Highway Patrol shall be paid such salaries as may be established by the Division of Personnel of the Department of Administration. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, the number of supervisory personnel of the State Highway Patrol shall not exceed a number equal to twenty-one percent (21%) of the personnel actually serving as uniformed highway patrolmen. Nothing in the previous sentence is intended to require the demotion, reassignment or change in status of any member of the State Highway Patrol presently assigned in a supervisory capacity. If a reduction in the number of Highway Patrol personnel assigned in supervisory capacity is required in order for the State Highway Patrol to meet the mandatory maximum percentage of supervisory personnel as set out in the fourth sentence of this subsection, that reduction shall be achieved through normal attrition resulting from supervisory personnel resigning, retiring or voluntarily transferring from supervisory positions.

(a1)      Applicants for employment as a State Trooper shall be at least 21 years of age and not more than 39 years of age as of the first day of patrol school. Highway Patrol enforcement personnel hired on or after July 1, 2013, shall retire not later than the end of the month in which their 62nd birthday falls.

(b) to (f)    Repealed by Session Laws 1979, 2nd Session, c. 1272, s. 2.

(g),       (h) Struck out by Session Laws 1961, c. 833, s. 6.2.

(i)         Positions in the State Highway Patrol approved by the General Assembly in the first fiscal year of a biennium to be added in the second fiscal year of a biennium may not be filled before adjustments to the budget for the second fiscal year of the budget are enacted by the General Assembly. If a position to be added in the State Highway Patrol for the second fiscal year of the biennium requires training, no applicant may be trained to fill the position until the budget adjustments for the second fiscal year are enacted by the General Assembly.  (1929, c. 218, s. 1; 1931, c. 381; 1935, c. 324, s. 1; 1937, c. 313, s. 1; 1941, c. 36; 1947, c. 461, s. 1; 1953, c. 1195, s. 1; 1955, c. 372; 1957, c. 1394; 1959, cc. 370, 1320; 1961, c. 833, s. 6.2; 1973, c. 59; 1975, c. 61, ss. 1, 2; c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 70, ss. 6-8, 13; c. 329, ss. 1-3; cc. 749, 889; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1272, s. 2; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1066, s. 133; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g), (p); 2013-289, s. 9; 2015-241, s. 16A.7(j).)

 

§ 20-186.  Oath of office.

Each member of the State Highway Patrol shall subscribe and file with the Secretary of Public Safety an oath of office for the faithful performance of his duties.  (1929, c. 218, s. 2; 1937, c. 339, s. 1; 1941, c. 36; 1977, c. 70, s. 9; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 20-187.  Orders and rules for organization and conduct.

The Secretary of Public Safety is authorized and empowered to make all necessary orders, rules and regulations for the organization, assignment, and conduct of the members of the State Highway Patrol. Such orders, rules and regulations shall be subject to the approval of the Governor.  (1929, c. 218, ss. 1, 3; 1931, c. 381; 1933, c. 214, ss. 1, 2; 1939, c. 387, s. 2; 1941, c. 36; 1977, c. 70, s. 13; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 20-187.1.  Awards.

(a)        The patrol commander shall appoint an awards committee consisting of one troop commander, one troop executive officer, one district sergeant, one corporal, two troopers and one member of patrol headquarters staff. All committee members shall serve for a term of one year. The member from patrol headquarters staff shall serve as secretary to the committee and shall vote only in case of ties. The committee shall meet at such times and places designated by the patrol commander.

(b)        The award to be granted under the provisions of this section shall be the North Carolina State Highway Patrol award of honor. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol award of honor is awarded in the name of the people of North Carolina and by the Governor to a person who, while a member of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of personal safety and beyond the call of duty while engaged in the preservation of life and property. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery and self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his colleagues and must have involved risk of life. Proof of the performance of the service will be required and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

(c)        Recipients of the awards hereinabove provided for will be entitled to receive a framed certificate of the award and an insignia designed to be worn as a part of the State Highway Patrol uniform.

(d)       The awards committee shall review and investigate all reports of outstanding service and shall make recommendations to the patrol commander with respect thereto. The committee shall consider members of the Patrol for the awards created by this section when properly recommended by any individual having personal knowledge of an act, achievement or service believed to warrant the award of a decoration. No recommendation shall be made except by majority vote of all members of the committee. All recommendations of the committee shall be in writing and shall be forwarded to the patrol commander.

(e)        Upon receipt of a recommendation of the committee, the patrol commander shall inquire into the facts of the matter and shall reduce his recommendation to writing. The patrol commander shall forward his recommendation, together with the recommendation of the committee, to the Secretary of Public Safety. The Secretary shall have final authority to approve or disapprove recommendations affecting the issuance of all awards except the award of honor. All recommendations for the award of honor shall be forwarded to the Governor for final approval or disapproval.

(f)        The patrol commander shall, with the approval of the Secretary, establish all necessary rules and regulations to fully implement the provisions of this section and such rules and regulations shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(1)        Announcement of awards

(2)        Presentation of awards

(3)        Recording of awards

(4)        Replacement of awards

(5)        Authority to wear award insignias.  (1967, c. 1179; 1971, c. 848; 1977, c. 70, s. 13; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 20-187.2.  Badges and service side arms of deceased or retiring members of State, city and county law-enforcement agencies; weapons of active members.

(a)        Surviving spouses, or in the event such members die unsurvived by a spouse, surviving children of members of North Carolina State, city and county law-enforcement agencies killed in the line of duty or who are members of such agencies at the time of their deaths, and retiring members of such agencies shall receive upon request and at no cost to them, the badge worn or carried by such deceased or retiring member. The governing body of a law-enforcement agency may, in its discretion, also award to a retiring member or surviving relatives as provided herein, upon request, the service side arm of such deceased or retiring members, at a price determined by such governing body, upon determining that the person receiving the weapon is not ineligible to own, possess, or receive a firearm under the provisions of State or federal law, or if the weapon has been rendered incapable of being fired. Governing body shall mean for county and local alcohol beverage control officers, the county or local board of alcoholic control; for all other law-enforcement officers with jurisdiction limited to a municipality or town, the city or town council; for all other law-enforcement officers with countywide jurisdiction, the board of county commissioners; for all State law-enforcement officers, the head of the department.

(b)        Active members of North Carolina State law-enforcement agencies, upon change of type of weapons, may purchase the weapon worn or carried by such member at a price which shall be the average yield to the State from the sale of similar weapons during the preceding year.

(c)        For purposes of this section, certified probation and parole officers shall be considered members of a North Carolina State law enforcement agency.  (1971, c. 669; 1973, c. 1424; 1975, c. 44; 1977, c. 548; 1979, c. 882; 1987, c. 122; 2013-369, s. 19; 2016-77, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 20-187.3.  Quotas prohibited.

(a)        The Secretary of Public Safety shall not make or permit to be made any order, rule, or regulation requiring the issuance of any minimum number of traffic citations, or ticket quotas, by any member or members of the State Highway Patrol. Pay and promotions of members of the Highway Patrol shall be based on their overall job performance and not on the basis of the volume of citations issued or arrests made. Members of the Highway Patrol shall be subject to salary classes, ranges and longevity pay for service as are applicable to other State employees generally. Beginning July 1, 1985, and annually thereafter, each member of the Highway Patrol shall be granted a salary increase in an amount corresponding to the increments between steps within the salary range established for the class to which the member's position is assigned by the State Human Resources Commission, not to exceed the maximum of each applicable salary range.

(b)        The Secretary of Public Safety, subject to the availability of funds as authorized by the Director of the Budget, may place a member of the State Highway Patrol in any step in the salary range for the class to which the member is assigned based on the member's rank so that no member is in a step lower than others of the same rank who have held that rank for less time than that member.  (1981, c. 429; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1034, ss. 106, 107; c. 1116, s. 89; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g); 2012-142, s. 25.2C(d); 2013-382, s. 9.1(c).)

 

§ 20-187.4.  Disposition of retired service animals.

(a)        Upon determination that any service animal is no longer fit or needed for public service, the State or unit of local government may transfer ownership of the animal at a price determined by the State or unit of local government and upon any other terms and conditions as the State or unit of local government deems appropriate, to any of the following individuals, if that individual agrees to accept ownership, care, and custody of the service animal:

(1)        The officer or employee who had normal custody and control of the service animal during the service animal's public service to the State or unit of local government.

(2)        A surviving spouse, or in the event such officer or employee dies unsurvived by a spouse, surviving children of the officer or employee killed in the line of duty who had normal custody and control of the service animal during the service animal's public service to the State or unit of local government.

(3)        An organization or program dedicated to the assistance or support of service animals retired from public service.

(b)        For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)        "Service animal." - Any horse, dog, or other animal owned by the State or a unit of local government that performs law enforcement, public safety, or emergency service functions.

(2)        "Unit of local government." - As defined in G.S. 159-7(b)(15).  (2016-101, s. 1.)

 

§ 20-188.  Duties of Highway Patrol.

The State Highway Patrol shall be subject to such orders, rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Secretary of Public Safety, with the approval of the Governor, and shall regularly patrol the highways of the State and enforce all laws and regulations respecting travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways of the State and all laws for the protection of the highways of the State. To this end, the members of the Patrol are given the power and authority of peace officers for the service of any warrant or other process issuing from any of the courts of the State having criminal jurisdiction, and are likewise authorized to arrest without warrant any person who, in the presence of said officers, is engaged in the violation of any of the laws of the State regulating travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways, or of laws with respect to the protection of the highways, and they shall have jurisdiction anywhere within the State, irrespective of county lines. The State Highway Patrol shall enforce the provisions of G.S. 14-399.

The State Highway Patrol shall have full power and authority to perform such additional duties as peace officers as may from time to time be directed by the Governor, and such officers may at any time and without special authority, either upon their own motion or at the request of any sheriff or local police authority, arrest persons accused of highway robbery, bank robbery, murder, or other crimes of violence.

The Secretary of Public Safety shall direct the officers and members of the State Highway Patrol in the performance of such other duties as may be required for the enforcement of the motor vehicle laws of the State.

Members of the State Highway Patrol, in addition to the duties, power and authority hereinbefore given, shall have the authority throughout the State of North Carolina of any police officer in respect to making arrests for any crimes committed in their presence and shall have authority to make arrests for any crime committed on any highway.

Regardless of territorial jurisdiction, any member of the State Highway Patrol who initiates an investigation of an accident or collision may not relinquish responsibility for completing the investigation, or for filing criminal charges as appropriate, without clear assurance that another law-enforcement officer or agency has fully undertaken responsibility, and in such cases he shall render reasonable assistance to the succeeding officer or agency if requested.

The State Highway Patrol recognizes the need to utilize private wrecker services to remove vehicles from public roadways as part of its public safety responsibility. In order to assure that this public safety responsibility is accomplished, the Troop Commander shall include on the Highway Patrol's rotation wrecker list only those wrecker services which agree in writing to impose reasonable charges for work performed and present one bill to the owner or operator of any towed vehicle. Towing, storage, and related fees charged may not be greater than fees charged for the same service for nonrotation calls that provide the same service, labor, and conditions.  (1929, c. 218, s. 4; 1933, c. 214, ss. 1, 2; 1935, c. 324, s. 3; 1939, c. 387, s. 2; 1941, c. 36; 1945, c. 1048; 1947, c. 1067, s. 20; 1973, c. 689; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 70, ss. 10, 13; c. 887, s. 3; 2009-461, s. 3; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 20-189.  Patrolmen assigned to Governor's office.

The Secretary of Public Safety, at the request of the Governor, shall assign and attach two members of the State Highway Patrol to the office of the Governor, there to be assigned such duties and perform such services as the Governor may direct. The salary of the State Highway Patrol members so assigned to the office of the Governor shall be paid from appropriations made to the office of the Governor and shall be fixed in an amount to be determined by the Governor.  (1941, cc. 23, 36; 1965, c. 1159; 1977, c. 70, s. 13; 1983, c. 717, s. 6; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 955, ss. 2, 3; 2006-203, s. 15; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g); 2012-83, s. 30.)

 

§ 20-190.  Uniforms; motor vehicles and arms; expense incurred; color of vehicle.

The Department of Public Safety shall adopt some distinguishing uniform for the members of said State Highway Patrol, and furnish each member of the Patrol with an adequate number of said uniforms and each member of said Patrol force when on duty shall be dressed in said uniform. The Department of Public Safety shall likewise furnish each member of the Patrol with a suitable motor vehicle, and necessary arms, and provide for all reasonable expense incurred by said Patrol while on duty, provided, that not less than eighty-three percent (83%) of the number of motor vehicles operated on the highways of the State by members of the State Highway Patrol shall be painted a uniform color of black and silver.  (1929, c. 218, s. 5; 1941, c. 36; 1955, c. 1132, ss. 1, 1 1/4, 1 3/4; 1957, c. 478, s. 1; c. 673, s. 1; 1961, c. 342; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 70, s. 15; 1979, c. 229; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 20-190.1.  Patrol vehicles to have sirens; sounding siren.

Every motor vehicle operated on the highways of the State by officers and members of the State Highway Patrol shall be equipped  with a siren. Whenever any such officer or member operating any unmarked car shall overtake another vehicle on the highway after sunset of any day and before sunrise for the purpose of stopping the same or apprehending the driver thereof, he shall sound said siren before stopping such other vehicle. (1957, c. 478, s. 1 1/2.)

 

§ 20-190.2.  Signs showing highways patrolled by unmarked vehicles.

The Department of Transportation shall erect or cause to be erected signs at all points where paved highways enter this State from adjacent states stating that the highways are patrolled by unmarked police vehicles. (1957, c. 673, s. 2; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; 1977, c. 464, s. 34.)

 

§ 20-190.3.  Assignment of new highway patrol cars.

All new highway patrol cars, whether marked or unmarked, placed in service after July 1, 1985, shall be assigned to all members of the Highway Patrol. (1985, c. 757, s. 165; 1987, c. 738, s. 122; 1989, c. 752, s. 114.)

 

§ 20-191.  Use of facilities.

Office space and other equipment and facilities of the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation, presently being used by the State Highway Patrol shall continue to be used by the Patrol, and joint use of space, equipment and facilities between any division of the Department of Transportation and the State Highway Patrol may continue, unless such arrangements are changed by agreements between the Secretary of Public Safety and the Secretary of Transportation.  (1929, c. 218, s. 6; 1937, c. 313, s. 1; 1941, c. 36; 1947, c. 461, s. 2; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 70, s. 11; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 20-192.  Shifting of personnel from one district to another.

The commanding officer of the State Highway Patrol under such rules and regulations as the Department of Public Safety may prescribe shall have authority from time to time to shift the forces from one district to another, or to consolidate more than one district force at any point for special purposes. Whenever a member of the State Highway Patrol is transferred from one point to another for the convenience of the State or otherwise than upon the request of the Highway Patrol member, the Department shall be responsible for transporting the household goods, furniture and personal apparel of the Highway Patrol member and members of the Highway Patrol member's household.  (1929, c. 218, s. 7; 1937, c. 313, s. 1; 1941, c. 36; 1947, c. 461, s. 3; 1951, c. 285; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 70, s. 15; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g); 2012-83, s. 31.)

 

§ 20-193:  Repealed by Session Laws 1993 (Reg.  Sess., 1994), c. 761, s. 18.

 

§ 20-194.  Defense of members and other State law-enforcement officers in civil actions; payment of judgments.

(a)        Repealed by Session Laws 2011-145, s. 28.27(d), effective July 1, 2011.

(b)        In the event that a member of the Highway Patrol or any other State law-enforcement officer is sued in a civil action as an individual for acts occurring while such member was alleged to be acting within the course and scope of his office, employment, service, agency or authority, which was alleged to be a proximate cause of the injury or damage complained of, the Attorney General is hereby authorized to defend such employee through the use of a member of his staff or, in his discretion, employ private counsel, subject to the provisions of Article 31A of Chapter 143 and G.S. 147-17. Any judgment rendered as a result of said civil action against such member of the Highway Patrol or other State law-enforcement officer, for acts alleged to be committed within the course and scope of his office, employment, service, agency or authority shall be paid as an expense of administration up to the limit provided in the Tort Claims Act.

(c)        The coverage afforded under this Article shall be excess coverage over any commercial liability insurance up to the limit of the Tort Claims Act.  (1929, c. 218, s. 9; 1941, c. 36; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 1323; 1975, c. 210; 1977, c. 70, s. 12; 2011-145, s. 28.27(d).)

 

§ 20-195.  Cooperation between Patrol and local officers.

The Secretary of Public Safety with the approval of the Governor, through the State Highway Patrol, shall encourage the cooperation between the Highway Patrol and the several municipal and county peace officers of the State for the enforcement of all traffic laws and the proper administration of the Uniform Drivers' License Law, and arrangements for compensation of special services rendered by such local officers out of the funds allotted to the State Highway Patrol may be made, subject to the approval of the Director of the Budget.  (1935, c. 324, s. 5; 1939, c. 387, s. 3; 1941, c. 36; 1977, c. 70, ss. 13, 14; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g), (p); 2015-241, s. 16A.7(j).)

 

§ 20-196.  Statewide radio system authorized; use of telephone lines in emergencies.

The Secretary of Public Safety, through the State Highway Patrol is hereby authorized and directed to set up and maintain a statewide radio system, with adequate broadcasting stations so situate as to make the service available to all parts of the State for the purpose of maintaining radio contact with the members of the State Highway Patrol and other officers of the State, to the end that the traffic laws upon the highways may be more adequately enforced and that the criminal use of the highways may be prevented. The Secretary of Public Safety, through the State Highway Patrol, is hereby authorized to establish a plan of operation in accordance with Federal Communication Commission rules so that all certified law-enforcement officers within the State may use the law enforcement emergency frequency of 155.475MHz.

The Secretary of Public Safety is likewise authorized and empowered to arrange with the various telephone companies of the State for the use of their lines for emergency calls by the members of the State Highway Patrol, if it shall be found practicable to arrange apparatus for temporary contact with said telephone circuits along the highways of the State.

In order to make this service more generally useful, the various boards of county commissioners and the governing boards of the various cities and towns are hereby authorized and empowered to provide radio receiving sets in the offices and vehicles of their various officers, and such expenditures are declared to be a legal expenditure of any funds that may be available for police protection.  (1935, c. 324, s. 6; 1941, c. 36; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 70, ss. 13, 14; c. 464, s. 34; 1983, c. 717, s. 7; 1987, c. 525; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g), (p); 2015-241, s. 16A.7(j).)

 

§ 20-196.1:  Repealed by Session Laws 1998-212, s.  19.6(a).

 

§ 20-196.2.  Use of aircraft to discover certain motor vehicle violations; declaration of policy.

The State Highway Patrol is hereby permitted the use of aircraft to discover violations of Part 10 of Article 3 of Chapter 20 of the General Statutes relating to operation of motor vehicles and rules of the road. It is hereby declared the public policy of North Carolina that the aircraft should be used primarily for accident prevention and should also be used incident to the issuance of warning citations in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 20-183. (1967, c. 513; 1998-212, s. 19.6(b).)

 

§ 20-196.3.  Who may hold supervisory positions over sworn members of the Patrol.

Notwithstanding any other provision of the General Statutes, only the following individuals may hold a supervisory position over sworn members of the Patrol:

(1)        The Governor.

(2)        The Secretary of Public Safety.

(3)        A uniformed member of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol who has met all requirements for employment within the Patrol, including completion of the basic Patrol school.  (1975, c. 47; 1977, c. 70, s. 14.1; 2002-159, ss. 31.5(a), (b); 2002-190, s. 9; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g); 2013-289, s. 10; 2015-241, s. 16A.7(h).)

 

§ 20-196.4.  Oversized and hazardous shipment escort fee.

(a)        Every person, firm, corporation, or entity required by the North Carolina Department of Transportation or any federal agency or commission to have a law enforcement escort provided by the State Highway Patrol for the transport of any oversized load or hazardous shipment by road or rail shall pay to the Department of Public Safety a fee covering the full cost to administer, plan, and carry out the escort within this State.

(b)        If the State Highway Patrol provides an escort to accompany the transport of oversized loads or hazardous shipments by road or rail at the request of any person, firm, corporation, or entity that is not required to have a law enforcement escort pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, then the requester shall pay to the Department of Public Safety a fee covering the full cost to administer, plan, and carry out the escort within this State.

(c)        A fee established under this section is subject to G.S. 12-3.1. The full cost of an escort includes costs for vehicle or equipment maintenance required before or after an escort to ensure the visibility and safety of the law enforcement escort and the motoring public.

(d)       All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be placed in a special Escort Fee Account. Revenue in the account is annually appropriated to the Department to reimburse the Department for its expenses in providing escorts under this section.

(e)        Repealed by Session Laws 2010-129, s. 4, effective July 21, 2010.  (2002-126, s. 26.17(a); 2010-129, s. 4; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 20-196.5.  Report on gang prevention recommendations.

The State Highway Patrol, in conjunction with the State Bureau of Investigation and the Governor's Crime Commission, shall develop recommendations concerning the establishment of priorities and needed improvements with respect to gang prevention and shall report those recommendations to the chairs of the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees on Justice and Public Safety and to the chairs of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety on or before March 1 of each year.  (2015-241, s. 16B.3(a).)