Contact: Pamela Walker
Date: January 29, 2013
Phone: (919) 733-5027

Secretary Shanahan Names Gary Bell Acting Commander of the Highway Patrol


RALEIGH – Secretary Kieran Shanahan today named Lt. Col. Gary Bell as Acting Commander of the State Highway Patrol (SHP). Bell succeeds Col. Michael Gilchrist who is retiring effective Friday, Feb. 1.

“Bell has a breadth of experience and demonstrated leadership skills that make him well-suited for this assignment. He has garnered the respect of his peers as he has risen through the ranks of the patrol over the past 27 years,” said Shanahan, Department of Public Safety secretary. “I have confidence in Commander Bell's abilities and am grateful for his willingness to serve.”

For the last two years, Bell has been responsible for overseeing all statewide field operations for the SHP. Prior to that, Bell managed the patrol's Professional Standards Section. He also commanded Troop B, which encompasses 11 counties in the south central and southeastern part of the state; oversaw internal affairs and accreditation; and has managed technical support and logistics. He started with the patrol in 1986.

“I am honored to be given this opportunity by Secretary Shanahan and look forward to reaffirming the high ethical, moral and professional standards expected of the patrol,” Lt. Col. Bell said.

Bell is a native of Whiteville. Prior to joining the patrol, he served in the U.S. Army.

Gilchrist has been commander of the patrol since October 2010. He was the patrol's 25th commander.

“Col. Gilchrist's distinguished service to the patrol and the citizens of North Carolina is truly appreciated,” Shanahan said. “He took the lead at a challenging time for the patrol and he has managed the position with integrity and professionalism.”



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