With a vast amount of highways in Sampson County, First Sgt. David Kinlaw is looking forward to leading troopers to keep the roads safe for residents.
Following a ceremony in late-November, Kinlaw was promoted to his new position and rank is currently in command of North Carolina State Highway Patrol’s Troop B, District II in Sampson County. During the event in Raleigh, Kinlaw as among 45 State Highway Patrol Troopers in attendance who were recognized by Gov. Pat McCrory.
In Sampson County, Kinlaw’s new role will come with a few challenges, but he’s looking forward to serving the residents of Sampson County.
“You have a lot more responsibility when you go from sergeant to first sergeant,” Kinlaw said. “Instead of being over half of the guys in the district, I’m over everyone in the district now. It’s a lot more responsibility.”
That responsibility includes supervising about a dozen troopers in Sampson County. During the recent storm, the branch received a lot of calls regarding accidents. There were no fatalities or injuries reported. It’s one of many duties Kinlaw will lead during his tenure in the county. Another important aspect includes educating the public about safety measures such as buckling up, not drinking while impaired and yielding to emergency vehicles.
“Geographically, we’re one of the biggest counties in the state,” Kinlaw said. So that gives us a challenge to try to cover the county with only 11 troopers. We do have some good troopers here, but it’s a challenge for them to try to be everywhere …”
The North Carolina Highway Patrol’s goal is to reduce collisions to make highways safe as possible. Troopers are also responsible for enforcing traffic laws, guiding traffic during hurricane evacuations re-routing traffic around chemical spills and being ready for terrorism acts.
Kinlaw’s position was previously held by First Sgt. Timothy Daniels, who transferred to another district. Prior to the promotion to lead Sampson County, Kinlaw served Troop B, District V, which covers Columbus and Bladen counties, as a sergeant. Before joining District V, Kinlaw worked in Sampson County as line sergeant from 2009 to 2012.
“I’ve enjoyed it so far,” he said. “When I worked Sampson before, I liked working here. The people here were extremely nice then and they’ve been extremely nice now. I like being here and the opportunity to work here.”
The Bladen County native served the North Carolina State Highway Patrol for 24 years.
“It’s just something I always wanted to do, ” Kinlaw said about joining law enforcement ranks. “I started to think about it early on when I was in high school.”
Kinlaw’s mother made a suggestion to attend college before doing so. He took her advice and attended the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Kinlaw’s work led to a degree in criminal justice. While attending, he received training and became a trooper in 1992. Since that time, he has never ventured away from law enforcement.
“It’s been my career and I haven’t tried anything else,” he said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.