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Commander of N.C. State Highway Patrol proud of his Rockingham County roots

Commander of N.C. State Highway Patrol proud of his Rockingham County roots

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REIDSVILLE — From a young age, Colonel Glenn McNeill, Commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and a Reidsville native, knew he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement.

He started his career as a military policeman in the U.S. Army with the ultimate goal of joining the State Highway Patrol.

His grandfather's service in the U.S. Army during World War II and his father's service in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War made quite an impact on him.

"Both of these men were committed to serving our nation, and I learned from their various shared experiences," McNeill said. "Each day, I am most thankful to have the opportunity to work for and wear the uniform of a North Carolina State Trooper."

His mother was also a tremendous influence, but in more than the traditional way most would assume. Sadly, his beloved mother, Ethel Johnson McNeill, was brutally murdered when he was young. An employee of the Reidsville City Schools, McNeill was found dead in her home in the Cambridge community in 1981. Her killer has never been identified, captured or brought to justice.

"This tragic and unfortunate occurrence has had a profound impact on my upbringing and served as the primary reason for wanting a career in public safety," McNeill said.

A 1989 graduate of Reidsville Senior High, he received an associate's degree from Durham Technical Community College, a bachelor's degree in business administration from Mount Olive College and a graduate certificate in criminal justice from the University of Virginia. In addition, he is a graduate of the 42nd Session of the Administrative Officers Management Program conducted by N.C. State University and the 262nd Session of the National Academy at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Quantico, Va.

McNeill joined the North Carolina Highway Patrol in November of 1993 as a Cadet in the 91st Basic Patrol School and has had an esteemed career. The recipient of the North Carolina Governor's Award for Bravery and Heroism and the North Carolina Governor's Award for Excellence, he also received the Heroism Award from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the North Carolina Department of Transportation's J.D. Goins Award.

"During my career with the Highway Patrol, it has been my passion to fully support the lifesaving mission of the Patrol," McNeill said. "I always strive to lead by example while serving and working together with those around me for the common good of our agency and the citizens of this great state."

One of the things McNeill enjoys most about his job is maintaining and developing partnerships with other state, federal and local law enforcement agencies.

"What I find most rewarding about my job as Commander of the Highway Patrol is remaining committed to my leadership calling of providing opportunities for all Highway Patrol members to be developed, mentored and coached in order to position them for success and the mutual benefit of the Highway Patrol," McNeill said. "I love working together with my leadership team to ensure all Highway Patrol employees achieve excellence in their delivery of quality public safety services to all North Carolina citizens."

Like most public safety work, serving in the Highway Patrol has its challenges and dangers.

"Traffic stops remain one of the most dangerous aspects of police work," McNeill said. "Our troopers and law enforcement officers are always at risk of harm or serious injury while interacting during enforcement encounters."

One of the most pressing challenges he faces on a daily basis is making sure troopers remain safe and make it home to their families each day. Sometimes, though, there are life-altering injuries and losses.

"Since serving as Patrol Commander, I have had the unfortunate, yet highest honor, of burying eight active State Troopers during my tenure over the last four years," McNeill said. "Our public safety mission and law enforcement calling can be dangerous, and the ultimate sacrifice that our members have given is a constant reminder to me."

COVID-19 has also presented its challenges, and McNeill has initiated safety protocols to protect members, as well as the public, while maintaining the Highway Patrol's public safety duties.

"Although the Highway Patrol has made distinct operational modifications in response to this unprecedented medical crisis, our mission to safeguard the public remains our top priority," he said. "Our members are on the front lines protecting and serving their communities while working to stay safe themselves."

During his career, he also has witnessed changes, such as the improvements in how the Highway Patrol communicates. There have been updates in mobile data computers, statewide radio systems and various phone apps.

"All benefit the delivery of services that we strive to provide for the more than 10.6 million North Carolinians," McNeill said.

In his spare time, McNeill enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, and he loves to run each day and watch Duke Blue Devil's men's basketball games.

McNeil looks forward to continuing his work with the North Carolina Highway Patrol and serving his home state and community.

"What motivates me the most is the safety, health and well-being of our sworn and civilian members of our agency," he said. "As Patrol Commander, I have set some aggressive goals to do all that I can to ensure that our personnel receive the very best training and equipment to keep them safe while serving the citizens of our great state and well beyond."

Jennifer Atkins Brown writes every other Sunday for this section. Contact her at

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