Highway Patrol sergeant under investigation after he was found at home while on duty

— The State Highway Patrol is conducting an internal investigation of a patrol sergeant who WRAL Investigates found at home when he was supposed to be working – even during a state of emergency.

WRAL Investigates received a tip two months ago that Sgt. Maurice DeValle, an 18-year Highway Patrol veteran and a supervisor who makes $69,000 a year, wasn’t showing up for his full work shifts.

A news crew spent weeks tracking DeValle on various days he was working and routinely found his cruiser in the driveway of his Wake County home while he was on the clock, including while other Highway Patrol troopers put in nearly 24,000 hours of overtime during and after Hurricane Matthew responding to stranded drivers and keeping people off flooded roads.

Much of eastern North Carolina was under a state of emergency on Oct. 14, and the Neuse River was 10 feet above flood stage in Goldsboro. Dozens of Wayne County roads were impassable, but DeValle, one of the highest-ranking Highway Patrol troopers in the county, wasn’t there when he was supposed to be. Instead, WRAL Investigates found his state-issued cruiser at his home more than an hour after he reported to the patrol that he was on duty in Wayne County.

According to Highway Patrol policy, troopers “… must be in their assigned duty station at the beginning of their assigned shift.”

But that hasn’t been the case for DeValle on a number of occasions:

  • Oct. 1: DeValle reported he was on duty, but he never left his home for at least three hours.
  • Oct. 6: DeValle was at home at 6:45 p.m., hours after reporting to patrol dispatch that he was on the road.
  • Nov. 11: DeValle was at home an hour after calling in that he was on duty.

Patrol officials said supervisors aren’t allowed to complete paperwork at home while on the clock. All work must be done in the duty station, they said.

WRAL Investigates also raised questions about where DeValle lives. His home is 35 miles from the Wayne County line – a 40-minute drive – although Highway Patrol policy requires troopers to live in the county where they work or get special permission to live within 20 miles of the county line.

Officials said he never obtained a special exemption to live outside of that 20-mile limit.

DeValle hasn’t responded to repeated requests for comment.

After WRAL Investigates took its information to the Highway Patrol, officials placed DeValle on administrative duty and took away his cruiser, pending the outcome of the internal investigation.

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.