Officer recognized

The accolades and honors keep coming for Kernersville Master Police Officer Corey McRae, and by all accounts, each and every one is just as deserving as the last. In March, McRae was named the Town of Kernersville Employee of the Year, an honor that was followed by the announcement last month that McRae has also been named the Kernersville Police Department (KPD) 2021 Officer of the Year.
Then last week, McRae, who serves as a member of the Forsyth County DWI Task Force, was recognized by the state’s MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) chapter at the organization’s annual Law Enforcement Recognition event for being second in the state among DWI task force enforcers, arresting 123 impaired drivers in 2021.
KPD Chief Tim Summers commented on McRae and the recognitions he has received this year, commending his dedication and commitment to law enforcement.
“Corey’s accomplishments are very well deserving of the awards he has received. It is without a doubt the reason he was awarded Kernersville Police Department Officer of the Year, Town of Kernersville Employee of the Year and recipient of a MADD award for his dedication, commitment and arrests on the Forsyth County DWI Task Force,” Summers said. “Corey is a cop’s cop. He consistently gives 100 percent and strives to be the best at everything he does.”
McRae said he never really thought about law enforcement while growing up or even throughout high school. It wasn’t until after he had graduated that McRae found his calling.
McRae began pursuit of a career in law enforcement soon after, enrolling in classes at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) in the fall of 2009 to study for an associate’s degree in criminal justice. McRae finished his degree, along with basic law enforcement training, in December 2011. His first job was with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, hired in March 2012. Five years later, McRae was hired by the KPD in June 2017.
If McRae was surprised at being named the Employee of the Year by the Town of Kernersville, he was even more surprised to be named the KPD Officer of the Year.
“I was very surprised to have been chosen for this award. I had no idea until it was announced that I had been chosen,” McRae said. “It was very humbling and (I am) appreciative. I cannot express my gratitude towards all my peers for even being considered. There are so many great officers with the Town of Kernersville that were deserving of this recognition.”
McRae said he was honored to be recognized by MADD again this year. Last year, McRae had the third highest number of task force arrests, followed by KPD Sgt. Sam Johnson, a former member of the countywide DWI task force, who had the fourth highest total.
“I’m honored to receive this award by an organization as important as MADD. It was a great evening highlighting the achievements of not only officers across the state, but also that of prosecutors and victim advocates,” McRae noted. “It is a nice acknowledgement for people to see the efforts that I and many officers seek in preventing injuries and fatalities on the streets and highways of North Carolina as a result of impaired driving. The most important part for me is simply the constant need to highlight the problem and danger that exists with impaired driving. So, through the acknowledgement of the awards, hopefully it further brings awareness how many impaired drivers there are across the state of North Carolina and the entire country each year.”
McRae believes units like the Forsyth County DWI Task Force provide an invaluable service in the community.
“Each impaired driver stopped could be a life saved. That’s ultimately the most important goal of our team which is reducing the number of fatal wrecks on our streets and highways as a result of impaired driving,” McRae said.
What surprises McRae most about people who choose to drive while impaired and is there anything he would say to them before they got behind the wheel to drive?
“The biggest surprise is the constant risk people are willing to take with so many ride sharing services available,” McRae said. “I would tell them to have a plan before they go out for the evening. Without a plan ahead of time once they are in the position to get home, unfortunately a poor choice is commonly the one picked. If you are planning on going out at any point and alcohol is involved, simply plan ahead of time.”
McRae said he would continue to do the same work regardless of whether or not he receives awards or accolades.
“I would say the award in and of itself does not mean anything to me. I would continue to do the same work regardless of any achievements or awards obtained,” McRae said. “I am grateful for MADD presenting them and putting a focus on the dangers of impaired driving, but I simply want to try my best to make sure everyone on the roads are being safe and get to their destination.”
McRae said his career has been shaped by many.
“There have been numerous officers throughout my career that have shaped the kind of officer I strive to be. Many officers I have worked with and continue to work with on a daily basis, I respect and try to emulate,” McRae said.
McRae also thanked the KPD and Town of Kernersville for making it possible for him to do the work he does.
“I would just like to thank my supervision up to the administration of the Town of Kernersville. Without their support of the Forsyth County DWI Task Force my efforts could not be possible,” McRae said.
Finally, McRae wanted to make his own acknowledgement to the Forsyth County DWI Task Force and especially a respected and much beloved member of the team who passed away last year from COVID-19.
“I would like to mention the Forsyth County DWI Task Force was also selected as the DWI Task Force of the Year for 2020. MADD combined the awards ceremony for the 2020 and 2021 years. This was an achievement that I’m proud of for the members of our team. It was a bittersweet moment as our supervisor, WSPD (Winston-Salem Police Department) Sgt. McDonald passed away from COVID in October of 2021,” McRae shared. “He was one of the most passionate officers I’ve worked with and continued to be proactive in impaired driving enforcement even as his retirement neared. MADD presented a very nice speech in his remembrance, which was very much appreciated.”

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