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RALEIGH – The Department of Public Safety today honored some of the department’s most committed and exceptional employees during its annual Badge of Excellence Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony, held in Raleigh, recognized DPS employees who have made outstanding contributions to the department’s mission of improving quality of life through enhanced public safety. The Badge of Excellence program promotes department-wide recognition of these employees and celebrates their impactful contributions to the overall goals and mission of the department, North Carolina state government and to North Carolinians.

“Today, we honor 21 exceptional public servants — public servants who have been selfless in their attitudes and actions, exemplary team players, leaders outside the agency, valuable ambassadors, proactive, honorable and brave,” said Secretary of Public Safety Erik A. Hooks. “Through their services to others the recipients have set themselves apart. They have demonstrated courage, competence, defied difficulties and distractions, all for the greater good. They have shed a positive light on DPS.”

Employees are nominated for the award by other DPS employees including their supervisors, co-workers and subordinates. Listed below are the award winners in each of the following six categories:
Customer Service
Joyce Holley – Hazard Mitigation Specialist, NCEM-Recovery/Hazard Mitigation Grants
Holley helped the Town of Nags Head Fire Station 16 secure and install a generator that helped the town maintain power redundancy throughout the Hurricane Matthew impact – an effort that earned a national FEMA best practice.
Donna Miller – Accounting Technician, NCEM
Between September and December 2016, NCEM and the State Emergency Response team responded to seven declared state and federal disasters. Understanding the urgency, Miller processed more than 2,000 disaster invoices during this period, doing so within 48 hours of receipt, ensuring vendors were paid within 20-25 days.
Julie Tracy Lynch – Probation Parole Officer II, ACJJ-Community Corrections
Last February, Officer Lynch picked up and transported a post-release offender from Eastern Correctional Institution, only to find that the offender did not have a home to go to and would be residing on the streets. Overcoming numerous obstacles, Lynch ensured that the offender was placed that same day in Fordham House.
Human Relations
Jerry Higgins – DPS Communications Office
Higgins has volunteered at the annual Buddy Walk and served eight years on the Triangle Down Syndrome Board of Directors. He has participated in the NC Partners in Policy Making program through the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities; is a representative on the State Rehabilitation Council; and coaches in the Miracle League of the Triangle.
Shaketria Lindsey – Court Counselor, Buncombe County
Lindsey took the initiative to produce a video about the intake process and additional resources available to the public. With the “Thumbs Up” initiative, Lindsey also created a morale-boosting award program that recognizes colleagues and management for going above the call of duty.
Innovation and Efficiency
Christie Adams –  Marketing Coordinator, ACJJ-Correction Enterprises
Adams drafted a proposal that included IT resources which would operate a video monitored and call recorded telemarketing system. Adams also implemented a telemarketing training program and prepared printed sale, marketing and information sheets that would be used.
John Phillip Hegger Jr. – Training Administrator, ACJJ- Community Corrections
Hegger significantly improved the work process and system, as well as significantly increasing the efficiency of probation officers. Working with a community college, he set out to identify and secure software to develop ongoing policy training that was then uploaded into the learning management system (LMS).
Gwen Norville- Deputy Secretary, ACJJ (posthumous award)
In a career lasting more than 30 years, Norville was instrumental in developing and implementing a statewide first-line supervisory and mid-level managers’ training program. She helped write a guide for wardens and superintendents to follow when dealing with a major event that was published by the National Institute of Corrections.
Outstanding Achievement and Performance
Curt D. Johnson – Technical Writer and Remote Pilot, NCEM
Johnson launched the NCEM program to use Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, to conduct damage assessments following disasters. He also developed and taught a UAS training class for emergency management staff that later was extended to other state agencies and local governments. Johnson flew UAVs to collect flooding imagery after Hurricane Matthew and base camp imagery in the western North Carolina wildfires in 2016.
Tiffany Pate – Intelligence Analyst with SBI Computer Crimes Unit
Pate has worked diligently to coordinate the delivery of cyber tips to SBI agents and/or local law enforcement officers and then worked to resolve the situations. She has located and forwarded critical intelligence information to local law enforcement on numerous occasions.
Katie Webster – Natural Hazards Branch Manager and Meteorologist with NCEM
For the past year, Webster has served as the executive director for the State Disaster Recovery Task Force. Webster coordinated efforts and facilitated meetings among local, state and federal agencies that developed plans and implemented programs to rebuild communities after Hurricane Matthew. She also helped to develop and implement internship opportunities within Emergency Management.
Eric Wiseman – Area Coordinator with NCEM
When extreme flooding caused complete failure of Lumberton’s water plant, Wiseman developed an interim solution that provided the 25,000-person community with safe drinking water. During the western North Carolina wildfires, Wiseman helped to design and build the base of operations and coordinate incoming fire fighters and equipment.
Public Service and Volunteerism
Angelena Copple –  Correctional Unit Manager II, Albemarle Correctional Institution (ACJJ-Prisons)
Sgt. James Deaton became so ill he was moved to an ICU unit for approximately a month. His wife spoke very little English and was unable to drive during this time. Coople took it upon herself to assist Sgt. Deaton’s wife by taking her to and from the hospital and assisted her throughout his stay and with final arrangements after his passing.
Elizabeth Harrington – Correctional Sergeant at the Orange Correctional Center (ACJJ-Prisons)
Beginning in 2011, Sgt. Harrington has worked to help organize the hat, coat and glove drive for the children in the elementary schools and surrounding neighborhoods. She also spearheads the Combined Campaign effort that gets local business involved in a hot dog sale, and supports the NC food bank in Durham.
Kelley Ann Siboun – Processing Assistant, Pender Correctional Institution (ACJJ-Prisons)
Siboun serves an ambassador for a charity called Ainsley’s Angels. Every weekend she dedicates time to the special needs community in southeastern North Carolina. She lends her legs as an “Angel Runner” to ensure everyone can experience endurance events.
Safety and Heroism
Major Nathan “Nate” Barron – Pilot, North Carolina National Guard
Maj. Barron distinguished himself as captain of an inbound commercial airline flight to Charlotte when an unruly passenger presented an imminent safety threat to the passengers and crew. After the passenger communicated threats and proceeded to physically assault a fellow crew member by knocking her to the floor, Barron tackled and subdued the passenger until law enforcement arrived.
Phillip Burleson – Probation Parole Officer, ACJJ – Community Corrections
On June 28, 2016, in the superior court, an elderly man in the audience started gasping for breath and collapsed. PPO Phillip (Nate) Burleson took the initiative, grabbed a deputy and rushed to where the man was slumped over. They performed chest compressions until EMS arrived.
Trooper Andrew DePoyster, State Highway Patrol, Troop G, District 4 in Asheville
Trooper Andrew DePoyster responded to a report of a reckless driver on I-40. Trp. DePoyster investigated, found the suspect vehicle and its driver, who was unresponsive. DePoyster began CPR. Shortly afterwards, EMS arrived on the scene and transported the driver to the hospital for treatment and evaluation.
Brandon Gallagher; Jarrid Lake – Probation Officers, ACJJ-Community Corrections
On March 9, 2017, Probation Officers Lake and Gallagher got a call notifying them that an offender had tampered with the ankle bracelet of her electronic monitoring device. PO Lake and PO Gallagher investigated and with local law enforcement’s assistance, located the offender. She was brought back from a deadly heroin overdose thanks to their investigation.
Lorn “Glen” Webb – Special Agent, ALE
Last Oct., Webb was told there was an elderly man on Linkhaw Road trapped in a vehicle about to be flooded. Webb found the flooded vehicle and three men near it, including the 79-year-old driver, all standing in three feet of water and struggling to stand upright. Webb carried the elderly man to safety, enabling the other men to reach safe ground. The next day, Webb partnered with a citizen to rescue another citizen by boat.