NC trooper gets Congressional Badge of Bravery
Watch live as U.S. Senator Thom Tillis awards the Congressional Badge of Bravery to N.C. Trooper Daniel Harrell, who kept pursuing a suspect even after he was shot in the face and neck in Nash County on Jan. 14, 2019.
we are here today to celebrate, uh, as congressman Butterfield said, a joyous occasion and to celebrate the courageous actions of a courageous man, but also to honor and celebrate the integrity of the men and women and the families who serve and contribute and sacrificed so much for so many. We are grateful. And I want you to know that the community is ever grateful for your service and so fortunate to have so many heroes, uh, and leaders like you who give so much trooper Harold, we have a few small things in common. Uh, first of all, we're both new dads. Uh, I got to spend a little bit of time with jennifer and Addison as well. Uh, and I've got a baby girl who, uh, is almost as adorable as yours and was just born on Wednesday. And so I just, uh, I know that you're not just a hero when you're in your cruiser, but you're a hero for jennifer at home as well. And uh, and that speaks volumes of your character. Uh, the second thing that we have in common is that we were both effectively raised by the north Carolina highway patrol. I know your grandfather was a trooper. Uh, your father was a sergeant, uh, in a different capacity. My father was governor of the state of north Carolina and as a young boy, I moved into the executive mansion And I was an only child, young kids learning my ways in the world and walked into a security detail of 20 state troopers. Uh, they became my best friends. They became my big brothers and my big sisters. They taught me how to shoot, they taught me how to drive. They even taught me about the birds and the bees, uh, over which my mother is still horrified. Uh, but it reached a point where I told my parents, I either want to grow up to be a prosecutor or I want to be a state trooper and thankfully for the patrol. Uh, I got into law school. So uh, I don't have to create any problems on the street. But the, I say that to say that in in that experience, I know and came to learn and understand the challenges that law enforcement faces, the sacrifices that you and your families make. Uh, and I came to understand the courage that it takes to rise to the occasion. It has been said many times that courage is not the absence of fear, but it is the will to carry on in spite of it. We find that will in different places. We find it in our faith, we find it in our families, we find it in our love of country. We also find it in role models like you trooper Harold who exemplify that courage and all that they do. Now, if you like any trooper that I have ever known, you do not relish the limelight. Uh you do not seek recognition for what you do, but nonetheless you and the work you do and the courage you've shown is a beacon of light for all of us to inspire us to display that kind of courage in our everyday lives. And that's why this celebration is so important and I know it's uncomfortable for any trooper who just shows up and puts on the uniform and does the work to receive this kind of recognition. But it's a message to all of us in the community, what it means to be a hero. Uh It is an example of courage so profound that a United States senator uh and a United States congressman of different parties are here to recognize and present this honor to you. Law enforcement is a dangerous job. You put yourselves in harm's way so that we the rest of us citizens can be safe. And that work is fundamental. It's fundamental to ensuring our basic freedoms in protecting our lives, liberty, our civil rights. And that means that an attack on you is an attack on all of us. And that's why our office in the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of north Carolina will continue to prosecute crimes against law enforcement to the fullest extent. Just as Assistant United States Attorney chad Rhodes did in this case uh involving you, Trooper Harold. We will be there for you. And so my message to our brothers and sisters in the Highway Patrol and in law enforcement more broadly into you, Trooper Harold in particular is that the U. S. Attorney's Office and the United States Department of Justice. We stand with you against violence and hatred and contempt for human life. We stand with you in this case and in every case the challenges that you all face and the courage you muster will be ever on our minds. And in the face of adversity we will do as trooper Harold did we will strengthen our resolve to redouble our efforts and we will never stray from our mission. Thank you so much for all that you do. And I look forward to holding that baby girl before we get out of here. Thank you so much. Well, good morning everybody. Um President, right, Colonel johnson, uh Congressman butterfield, We're gonna mess up in Congress but I've enjoyed working with you for these uh 6.5 years now and U. S. Attorney easily when you were up here talking, I haven't decided whether or not you were born or cloned by your father. Um But I think it really is a testament to the fact that that you're a consensus pick on a bipartisan basis. We were glad to see you get through the Senate. Um I want to thank everybody for being here, particularly law enforcement. I uh I tell everybody the only time I don't like seeing law enforcement is in my rear view mirror and there were a couple of years ago where I saw one of a trooper in the rear view mirror as my wife and I were finishing about a seven hour trip, we were 20 minutes away from where we were going, saw the blue lights, pulled me over, got out of the car, got the paperwork done, gave me a speeding ticket. I got back in the car, my wife said, uh, two years ago, I got back in the car, she said, what did you get? It said speeding a ticket, but I believe it should have been improper equipment. She said, sweetie, I've been telling you for the last 30 minutes to slow down. We were so close, it was a speeding ticket. I said no, it was improper equipment. She said, how can you argue that? I said, I didn't have my radar detector. So uh look, I I think it probably is helpful to go back and maybe frame what happened back in 2019? Routine traffic stop, Right, Daniel. Uh, so but not so routine. We had somebody who had outstanding warrants, He was illegally towing a stolen vehicle, driving a stolen vehicle. When he pulled over, when he was pulled over by Trooper Harold, he ends up pulling out a nine millimeter pistol and hitting him twice, once right above the eye And one in the mouth. Now that's enough to bring most people down, but it didn't bring Trooper Harold in Trooper Harold pursued this person and ultimately resulted in a collision and fortunately the perpetrator was apprehended and I understand that spending some quality time here pending a trial. But in that same timeframe, jennifer Emerson was about four months old. Did you tell me 04, you were 14 weeks pregnant. Uh, and now they're also blessed with Addison, but just imagine what this man was thinking about. He'd been shot twice. The guys fleeing the arrest, he's got family at home and he pursues him and ultimately, through his hard work, he was apprehended. That is courage. That's what defines the troopers defines the sheriff and law enforcement across the state and across the nation. I um, I tell you I wear this, excuse me, I wear the shirt. It's got a thin blue line on it too many times on the Senate floor memorial izing people who didn't survive the kind of courageous acts that Trooper Harold did. So for all of them. Let's make sure that we keep them in our thoughts and prayers and for all of you never doubt that the american people stand behind you and never doubt that they recognize that you stand on the thin blue line between civil society and chaos and on that day, that's exactly what Trooper Harold did, Daniel, we're proud to present to you the congressional badge of bravery and I told Daniel, I'm not long on words, apparently he's even shorter onwards than me. But this is a testament to the courage of you and your father and understand your grandfather, three generations of state troopers, we want to thank you for your courage and your sacrifice and your continued service to the people of north Carolina. So, on behalf of all the members of Congress and on behalf of congressman butterfield, the north Carolina delegation and my dear friend, I'm also gonna miss Senator Burr. We'd like for you to come forward so I can present you with the badge of bravery. Also, my staff came up to me, Westbrook. I don't know why they have to whisper this stuff. They said, we want to know whether or not you just want to hand it to them or put it over his head. And I said, oh no, I need to check out and see whether or not he's worried about his hair. And then I looked over there and saw we're not gonna mess up that hair. So I'm gonna try and do for the first time. Put it around your neck and uh, and as we do that, I hope that everybody will stand up and give him a warm round of applause and things in gratitude. Yeah, yeah. Mhm. Well, it wasn't lying when I said it was short on words, but he sees a long on deeds. So again, daniel, thank you for your service, Godspeed stay safe and God bless everybody, thank you