For State Highway patrolman Bryan Smith, it’s not enough to make sure drivers are educated and safe on North Carolina roads. For him, it’s also important to teach future officers the fundamentals that will serve the same purpose off the road.
Smith, who protects our roads full time, also serves as an instructor for Sampson Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program when he is off duty.
“I have been an instructor for the Highway Patrol since 2003 teaching radar, time-distance, Lidar, and in-service,” says Smith, who was born and raised in Clinton. “When I looked back on how some of my instructors influenced my career decision, I felt a need to do the same thing with those that wanted to make law enforcement a career especially right here at home.”
Because his father was a volunteer fireman and his grandfather owned a body shop with a wrecker service, he was constantly around law enforcement growing up. Smith himself enrolled in SCC’s BLET program in 1998 and graduated that summer. For him, it felt right to come back to where it all started and teach for SCC.
“I enjoy mentoring and helping develop eager students that have the same passion for law enforcement that I have,” he notes. “Helping develop and hopefully mentoring those types of students is a small way I feel I can not only help my profession, but also give back to the community.”
After graduating from SCC, he worked in telecommunication at the local 911 center until he was hired as an officer with the Clinton Police Department in January 1999.
Two decades later, the SCC grad has been welcomed back for the skill and expertise he can bring in and pass on to future law enforcement officers.
In 2000, he went on to work for DMV Enforcement and in 2003, under Governor Mike Easley, the North Carolina General Assembly merged DMV into the Highway Patrol. Just a few weeks ago, Smith was promoted to First Sergeant and is assigned to the Highway Patrol Training Academy and be the Field Training Officer Coordinator for the Highway Patrol.
He says, “I would tell anyone that if you want to pursue a career in law enforcement, no matter what type of agency you would like to go and work for that Sampson Community College BLET Program is a great place to start. Graduates from the program have gone to work with several different police departments, sheriff departments and state agencies.”