BAR Awards Profile – Bryan E. Beatty Sr. ’87 (JD)

2002 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award
Bryan E. Beatty Sr. ’87 (JD)

When Governor Mike Easley formed the North Carolina Terrorism Preparedness Task Force after the September 11th attacks in New York City, he needed a group of individuals qualified to conduct an in-depth assessment of the our state’s most immediate security needs. And he needed a leader who was up to the challenge – he needed Bryan Beatty.

As Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, Bryan already had his department working to combat the threat of terrorism in North Carolina long before September 11th. And the challenge continues today as he strives to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians by reducing crime and enhancing public safety in every one of our 100 counties.

Quite a challenge for Bryan, but Governor Easley obviously felt that he was up to the assignment. The governor had recognized his talent, and his innate administrative skills. “We have relied upon him in five key positions in the past,” Easley said, “and he has always excelled in his service to the state. As Secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, Bryan Beatty has served the State of North Carolina honorably. Secretary Beatty has exhibited genuine leadership, and he has proven to be an outstanding manager.”

Indeed, the state of North Carolina has made the most out of its employment of Bryan Beatty, a Salisbury native who is a 1987 alumnus of the UNC School of Law, having earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the State University of New York in 1980 and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation Academy in 1981.

Bryan was a special agent for the SBI for four years, working on narcotics investigations and security to the governor. After law school, he practiced with the Johnson, Toal and Battiste law firm in Columbia, South Carolina before being recruited to serve as a staff attorney for the North Carolina Department of Justice, during which he represented UNC Hospitals, among other organizations.

In November 1997 he was named the state’s first inspector general, leading a staff of attorneys and investigators working on fraud in public assistance programs. In March 1999 he began an appointment as deputy attorney general for policy and planning for the Department of Justice, and was then named director of the State Bureau of Investigation in October, 1999—the first Africa American to lead the SBI.

Gwynn T. Swinson, secretary of the Department of Administration, had this to say:   “Although Bryan is the youngest member of Governor Easley’s cabinet, his keen intellect, exceptional maturity, sharp instincts and good judgment far exceed his youthful years. Bryan’s legal education at the UNC School of Law prepared him well for an outstanding career as a lawyer, law enforcement officer, and policy-maker. His career is on a very fast track for good reasons.”

Leading the way isn’t anything new to the Beatty family. Bryan’s father was a professor at Livingstone College and eventually became president of the college. He was also the first African American elected to the Salisbury City Council and the first African American mayor pro tem for the city. Bryan’s mother was an elementary school teacher in the Salisbury public schools for almost 30 years.

These days Bryan is proud to be serving as coordinator of the state’s homeland security efforts. It is his task now to bring all state agencies together to enhance our state’s terrorism preparedness.

When Bryan left to become secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, Attorney General Roy Cooper lamented that “It’s too bad we don’t have two of him to lead North Carolina’s law enforcement effort.”