Samaritan Awards for North Carolina Police

We salute North Carolina police Coley and Burnette for demonstrating valor in public service. Recently, Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and Frank L. Perry, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, honored these heroic policemen for their quick thinking while patrolling Concord, NC.

North Carolina Police do more than issue citations, and the recent honors take a moment to reflect on other good works done by our brave North Carolina troopers. Our roads and highways thrive on the our state’s police force and their efforts help to keep everyone moving and compliant to our laws.

2016 Samaritan Awards go to North Carolina police officers

Trooper Michael W. Coley

Trooper Michael W. Coley – Troop E, District 9

Trooper Barry N. Burnette

Trooper Barry N. Burnette – Troop E, District 6

Trooper Michael W. Coley – On Jan. 14, 2016 at approximately 1:45 p.m., there was a vehicle collision on I-85 in Rowan County. A black Ford pickup was traveling at a high rate of speed south bound in the second lane from the right. A black passenger car was in the right most lane traveling the speed limit. As the truck approached the passenger car, the truck changed lanes and struck the car in the back left quarter panel. This collision spun the car around and sent the truck off the road to the right. Once off the road, the truck struck the embankment and overturned. The driver was ejected and came to rest approximately 100 feet from the truck.  Trooper M. W. Coley happened to drive up on the crash moments after it occurred.  He requested EMS, grabbed his medical bag and began treating the patient.  Being a paramedic, Trooper Coley was able to render aid within one minute of the crash, but was not able to save the driver. Trooper Coley was one of the responders giving primary aid and assisting with breathing via bag mask. He was also giving instructions to other responders as to what needed to be done. His knowledge of trauma treatment was evident.  Trooper Coley’s action, though unsuccessful in saving the victim’s life, represent to the fullest degree the mission statement of the State Highway Patrol which is to “safeguard and preserve the lives and property of the people in North Carolina.” (Read more at

Trooper Barry N. Burnette – On Nov. 28, 2015 at approximately 7:45pm, Sgt. G. A. Barger (E-622) and Trooper B. N. Burnette (E-630) had just completed their meal break when they overheard radio communications from the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office stating a subject had been shot at the southound Interstate 85 Rest Area in Cabarrus County.  Both SHP members were in the general vicinity and immediately responded with blue lights and siren activated to check on the welfare of the victim and attempt to apprehend the suspects.  Sgt. Barger and Trooper Burnette communicated via radio prior to arriving on the scene to develop a systematic plan to safely approach the scene and attempt to locate both the victim and the suspects. Both members arrived at the scene of the shooting within less than two minutes of receiving the call and quickly located the shooting victim lying on the men’s bathroom floor with a bullet wound in his back. The victim was conscious, and Sgt. Barger and Trooper Burnette conducted a brief search of the exterior building to locate the shooting suspect. A rest area attendant informed the members that the suspects had fled the scene on foot.  Trooper Burnette provided security at the door of the bathroom while Sgt. Barger assessed the victim’s injuries and relayed more detailed information to Cabarrus County EMS personnel regarding the victim’s injuries. Sgt. Barger also provided a detailed description of the shooting suspects to the Cabarrus County Communications Center. Trooper Burnette continued to provide security at the door as he spoke with the victim’s wife and children to comfort and reassure them that they were now safe.  Once Sergeant Barger and Trooper Burnette determined that the scene was safe for EMS personnel to enter the rest area to assist the shooting victim, the members continued to provide security for allied agency personnel and assisted them with loading the victim into the ambulance. Sgt. Barger and Trooper Burnette secured the crime scene with issued crime scene tape until members of the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office and Concord Police Department arrived to investigate the shooting.  Sgt. Barger assigned other responding Highway Patrol members to assist with scene security as the evidence was processed and an allied agency K-9 was used to search for  the suspects.  Sgt. Barger contacted the Department of Transportation to request barrels for traffic control to preserve the crime scene.  The shooting victim is now paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the gunshot wound he sustained.  However, the victim is extremely fortunate to have survived this potentially lethal ordeal.  Both shooting suspects were ultimately identified with surveillance footage from the rest area and were apprehended a few days later as a result of the timely response and heroic actions of Sgt. Barger and Trooper Burnette.   Sgt Barger and Trooper Burnette used sound judgment and relied upon expert tactical skills obtained during recent Active Shooter Firearms Training they each received earlier this year. The professionalism displayed and collaboration with allied agencies exhibited by Sgt. Barger and Trooper Burnette on this occasion reflected favorably upon them, as well as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. (Read more at

In following up with their recognition of these officers’ service, North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry offered these words:

“I commend each one of them for their dedication and unwavering service to the State of North Carolina.”

Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, also pointed out the importance of honoring the officers’ devotion:

“The recipients honored today provide true examples of a devotion to service. Their willingness to help others while demonstrating compassion and courage should always be recognized.”

What can you do to support our police in North Carolina?

  1. Write a letter of commendation and send it to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, 512 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27604. We should write frequent reminders about how much we appreciate our police men and women, and report any stories about how they have gone “above and beyond the call of duty”.
  2. Write a letter to the editor of The Independent Tribute:
  3. Tell police officers how much you appreciate their help.
  4. Teach respect for police officers by talking to your children and friends about their positive impact in Concord, NC.
  5. Report illegal activity: CLICK HERE

Trooper Michael W. Coley and Trooper Barry N. Burnette each received Samaritan Award, demonstrating character values we appreciate and celebrate. We take this opportunity to recognize our fine police officers while encouraging others to share their appreciation for those public servants who keep our neighborhoods thriving and safe.