05/17/06 — First Sgt. D.W. Banks takes over State Highway Patrol here

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First Sgt. D.W. Banks takes over State Highway Patrol here

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 17, 2006 1:53 PM

First Sgt. D.W. Banks is back.

Banks replaced Terry McLeod this week as the commander of the Wayne County district of the state Highway Patrol.

"I'm home as far as I'm concerned," said Banks, of Elizabeth City.

The 46-year-old Banks had worked nine years as a line sergeant in Wayne County, but in 2005, he was promoted to first sergeant of the Durham-Granville County district.

First Sgt. D.W. Banks

First Sgt. D.W. Banks

"This is very familiar territory," he said of Wayne County. "Now I call this home. I have worked with the other law-enforcement agencies when I was here, and am looking forward to that good working relationship again."

McLeod transferred to Wilson County, his home, to replace 1st Sgt. J.G. Duckworth, who was transferred to his home area near Morganton.

As first sergeant, Banks said he will manage the manpower, work on collision reduction, emphasize enforcement work on the top five collision-producing roads and maintain a good relationship with the other county agencies.

Banks said his district office has the same mission as the other offices.

"We'll continue to try to fulfill the goals and objectives of the Highway Patrol -- enforcing traffic safety laws and protecting the motoring public," he said.

During McLeod's four-year tenure, Wayne County has been as many as five troopers short. Banks said two graduates from the patrol academy will be assigned here in late May, but they will work with a training officer for 12 weeks and then go before a review board before going out on their own. Three other rookies were assigned to the county in the last year. All are now working on their own.

Banks graduated in 1978 from Northeastern High School and in 1982 from Elizabeth City State University with a degree in geological science.

For about seven months Banks worked with the federal Geological Survey in Arizona, but when the government had to reduce staff, he said his position was the first one cut.

Banks then entered the patrol academy in June 1983 and graduated in November 1983. He was assigned to Gates County, where he stayed for 12 years until he was promoted and sent to Wayne County.

Banks and his wife, the former Belinda Gatling of Elizabeth City, have two children -- a daughter, Ava, 20, a junior at East Carolina University, and a son, Ehron, 17, a junior at Charles B. Aycock High School. Mrs. Banks is a deputy clerk in the Wayne County Clerk of Courts Office.

"Being able to get right back here was really a blessing," Banks said. "It answered a prayer."