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Bell named interim leader of Patrol
Acting commander succeeds retiring Gilchrist
 
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:11 am
by Herbert L. White

N.C. Highway Patrol Lt. Col. Gary Bell has been named acting commander of the agency. He succeeds Col. Michael Gilchrist, who is retiring on Feb. 1.


“I am honored to be given this opportunity by (N.C. Department of Public Service Secretary Kieran) Shanahan and look forward to reaffirming the high ethical, moral and professional standards expected of the patrol,” Bell said in a statement.


For the last two years, Bell has been responsible for overseeing statewide field operations for the Highway Patrol. Prior to that, he managed the patrol’s Professional Standards Section. Bell 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.


“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,” Shanahan said in a statement. “I have confidence in Commander Bell’s abilities and am grateful for his willingness to serve.”


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


Gilchrist was named commander of the SHP in 2010, taking over an agency that had been hit by a series of scandals in its ranks. 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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