Buffaloe climbs career ladder
Published 4:41 pm Friday, October 1, 2021
RALEIGH – When Eddie Buffaloe Jr. heard the voice of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on a cell phone call earlier this week, he nervously waited for what may have been bad news.
That apprehension took a happy turn when the Northampton County native learned he was the Governor’s choice as the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Buffaloe is currently the director of public safety for the Elizabeth City Department of Public Safety and interim city manager. He is also the president of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police.
He begins his new job on Nov. 1 where he will serve on the Governor’s Cabinet, representing the state’s law enforcement, corrections and emergency management responsibilities. The DPS secretary oversees the state’s homeland security coordination.
The department has more than 21,000 sworn law enforcement and civilian employees, along with more than 13,000 North Carolina National Guard soldiers and airmen.
“Governor Cooper’s decision was a complete shock to me and very humbling,” said Buffaloe of the phone call he received on Tuesday.
“My goal is to go and be a huge listener and work with our state agencies and stakeholders in order to work and collaborate with our local law enforcement partners across the state to keep the 10.4 million people in North Carolina safe,” he added.
When asked by the R-C News-Herald if the job as Secretary of Public Safety ever crossed his mind, Buffaloe answered, “I would say it was a thought and belief that I could do the job one day.”
Buffaloe, the son of Eddie “Jack” Buffaloe Sr. and Ruth Buffaloe who reside in Potecasi, was reared in a home where a public servant lived. His father spent 51 years in law enforcement: 43 as a Northampton County Sheriff’s Deputy and Courtroom Bailiff, and eight years as Chief of the Rich Square Police Department.
“My father has been my biggest role model and I stand on his shoulders today; along with my mom who has been my prayer warrior,” he stressed. “There are several colleagues across this state that have encouraged and guided me in this profession with valued advice.”
Buffaloe began his law enforcement career in November 1991 as a correctional officer at Odom Correctional Institute in Jackson. His career continued as a Drug Enforcement Agent in Northampton County, Drug Enforcement Supervisor in Halifax County, and Lead Investigator for the East Force Drug Task Force through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh.
He has also served as the Region 9 Law Enforcement Director of North Carolina; as a law enforcement instructor in the North Carolina Training and Standards Commission; and as a member of the North Carolina Army National Guard.
“Those different assignments have given me the knowledge, understanding, and experience that has allowed me this opportunity to put that experience into practice,” Buffaloe noted.
Buffaloe holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Mount Olive, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Grand Canyon University, and numerous law enforcement and public safety certifications. He currently serves as an adjunct faculty professor in the Criminal Justice departments at North Carolina Wesleyan College and College of the Albemarle.
“Eddie Buffaloe’s experience, vision, leadership, management skills and strong law enforcement credentials make him ready for this critically important role and I’m grateful he is willing to take it on,” said Governor Cooper. “As an officer, he has walked the beat on our streets and in our prisons and as a chief of police his leadership has shown that he understands the importance of building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”