- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina’s new governor has named a longtime State Bureau of Investigation official to lead the Department of Public Safety.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that he’s chosen Erik Hooks to run the agency, which oversees the Highway Patrol and SBI, among other divisions.

Hooks joined the SBI in 1989 as a special agent. He rose in the ranks and served as assistant director over the professional standards division for a decade until 2014. More recently, he served as special agent in charge of threat assessment and inspections and compliance units.

Cooper said that while he was attorney general he worked with Hooks closely.

Erik Hooks has the integrity, the managerial ability and the intelligence and the work ethic to do the job of managing one of the largest departments we have in state government,” Cooper said

Cooper said Hooks, who is black, will offer leadership on restoring trust between law enforcement officers and residents.

Hooks echoed that idea, saying: “We also want to start bridging some more gaps between law enforcement and the community.”

Hooks, a native of Spring Lake, holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from North Carolina State University.

The Cabinet pick follows several others by Cooper. All are subject to confirmation by the state Senate as a result of a recently passed law by the Republican-led General Assembly.

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