Department of Public Safety Presents Outstanding Employees with Badge of Excellence Awards


The Department of Public Safety honored its most dedicated and outstanding employees on Nov. 19 during the department’s annual Badge of Excellence Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony, held in Raleigh at the Joint Force Headquarters, recognized DPS employees who made outstanding contributions to the department’s mission to improve the quality of life by reducing crime and enhancing public safety. The Badge of Excellence program was established in 2015 to promote a department-wide recognition of employees and celebrate their contributions to the department, state government and to the people of North Carolina.

“These individuals are true public servants,” said Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “Their work is not easy and can be very challenging, but at the same time is very gratifying. North Carolina is better because of their service.”

The 22 employees were recognized for their accomplishments in the categories of customer service, outstanding achievement and performance, public service and volunteerism, innovation and efficiency, human relations and safety and heroism.

Employees were nominated for the award by other DPS employees including their supervisors, co-workers and subordinates. Listed below are the award recipients in each of the following six categories:


Scott Bauer 

Bauer served as the Critical Incident Administrator with Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice until his retirement earlier this year. He went above and beyond his assigned job duties to provide the best care, concern and support for DPS employees in crisis situations. Bauer was available at all hours of the day and would follow-up with phone calls after hours and send cards of support when applicable. He was also an active volunteer with the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation. 

Laura Holloway – Employment Specialist, Human Resources

Holloway is constantly praised by her colleagues for her work ethic. She consistently resolves issues that arise, works additional hours and willingly takes work home to ensure vacancies are filled. Holloway’s knowledge, attention to detail and dedication to customer service embody the true definition of a public servant.


James F. Hinson, Amber Singleton, Allen Roberts and Lorn Glen Webb – Special Agent, Alcohol Law Enforcement; Elicia Kieser – Intelligence Analyst, State Bureau of Investigation

The group served as case managers on an undercover case that discovered illegal gaming, manufacturing of controlled substances and money laundering at three illegal casinos in Robeson County. The investigation led to the seizure of more than 200 illegal video gaming machines, 32.7 lbs. of marijuana, 32 grams of heroin, 78 firearms, $500,000 and 12 vehicles.

Christopher Chambliss – Forensic Computer Analyst, State Bureau of Investigation

Chambliss followed a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding an endangered 14-year-old boy. After investigating, he learned that there was no boy, but a 31-year-old male teacher portraying a boy who was a sexual abuse victim. Chambliss also discovered the suspect hosted a blog for predators on how to get children to send explicit images. The suspect was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

Division of Prisons Employees – Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

During Hurricane Florence, Prisons employees successfully implemented the first mass evacuation in state history which included six prisons and nearly 3,000 offenders. The evacuation called for teamwork and extreme organization. Following the hurricane, the offenders were returned to their facilities without incident.

Pasquotank Correctional Institution Employees – Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

Employees at Pasquotank Correctional Institution banded together following the tragic assault on staff by offenders at that facility. They have helped each other heal from the pain of the event while continuing to maintain the needs of the facility. Their work and dedication to each other and to DPS is an example of great leadership for the entire correctional community.


Linda Butz – Pharmacist, Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

Butz was instrumental in recruiting and coordinating teams to work on recovery efforts in Duplin County. She has logged hundreds of hours volunteering with organizations to help her neighbors. Butz uses her community service hours to help with rebuilding her community and also recruits and encourages other employees to do the same.

Jeffery Harwood – 145th Airlift Wing/Logistics Readiness Squadron, National Guard

Master Sgt. Harwood consistently strives to improve the National Guard by taking initiative and looking for ways to improve processes, but his passion is in his volunteerism. He works with the Safe Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter Drive and the Special Olympics at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Harwood was also instrumental in the success of the Backpacks for Homeless Veterans and Livin’ My Best Life Fundraiser.

Brenda Morris – Grants Manager, Emergency Management

Morris assists North Carolinians during their most vulnerable moments as they recover from a disaster. Her leadership and mentorship of her staff has led survivors from hurricanes Matthew and Florence to receive the highest level of care and attention as their recovery paperwork was processed. Federal Emergency Management Agency employees also have noted the work and detail she puts into the grants.


Gregory Cardwell – Electronic Technician, National Guard

Cardwell manages and is responsible for all electronic security issues that affect National Guard facilities. His team replaced systems at 103 sites across the state that provide oversight of arms, ammunition, explosives and other sensitive materials. They did such an exemplary job that the U.S. National Guard requested Cardwell to repair systems sites devasted by Hurricane Florence in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Vera DeVera – Nurse Educator/Consultant, Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

DeVera initiated and implemented various programs at Maury Correctional Institution including a specialized travel nurse program and a new employee welcome packet program. She also created a documentation flow sheet and HERO outage notebook that were implemented at all correctional facilities.


Doris Daye – Warden, Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

Daye is committed to leading others. She served as her facility’s chairperson for the state’s Annual Combined Campaign and led her team to raise a record high for the facility; she also implemented a “Biggest Loser” health initiative to help improve health for employees at her facility. Daye also volunteers with her church, the State Employees Association of North Carolina and the North Carolina Correctional Association.

Vanessa Hovis – Juvenile Court Counselor, Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

Hovis carries her passion for assisting youth to her volunteer efforts. She has worked with nearly all of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office’s Shop with a Cop events to help children shop for Christmas gifts. Hovis also volunteers at the GREAT camp, sponsored by law enforcement, to serve children in need.

Jeffrey O’Briant – Director of Central Engineering, Central Engineering

Under O’Briant’s direction, the Central Engineering office received recognition and multiple awards for their work with historically underutilized businesses. During the 38th Annual State Construction Conference, he was recognized as the “Outstanding Individual Contributor to HUB Inclusion Efforts” and his office was awarded for its “Outstanding Commitment to the HUB Program and Utilization of HUB Firms.”


Adam Boyd – Special Agent, Alcohol Law Enforcement

Agent Boyd responded to a farming accident where the victim had been entangled up to his waist inside a grain bin. He utilized his medical training and used a tourniquet device to stop the bleeding until EMS arrived. The victim was airlifted to a hospital where his leg and life were saved.

Jimmy Branch – Probation and Parole Officer, Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

Last December, Branch was off-duty and witnessed a mother and two young children attempting to cross a highway. One child broke loose from the mother and was hit by a car. Branch immediately got out of his car and began CPR on the unresponsive 8-year-old until the child was breathing again. He stayed with the child until paramedics arrived, and the child was able to make a full recovery.

Jonathon Gibbs – Senior Trooper, State Highway Patrol

Trooper Gibbs was stopped by a young child asking for help for his mother who was trapped in a submerged vehicle. He hurried down the embankment to the river where a car was underwater. The trooper used his life vest and throw rope to rescue the mother to shore and to safety.

430th Ordnance Company, National Guard

The company is the only explosive ordnance disposal unit within the N.C. National Guard and one of 14 Army National Guard EOD units in the 54 states and territories. They are best known for locating, identifying, evaluating, rendering safe, recovering and determining the final disposition of all explosive items. The company is commended for their bravery and continued service to our country.


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