Trooper Black, pictured at left.

Sanford native Chris Black, a master trooper with the North Carolina Highway Patrol, is one of just a handful of recipients of the patrol’s D.R. Bowick Trooper of the Year award, the Rant has learned.

Black, 35, has been with the Highway Patrol for 10 years and began his law enforcement career with the Sanford Police Department. His award is for Troop D, which covers a 9 county area including Lee and Chatham. There are eight troop divisions in the state; each names a Trooper of the Year.

Black said he found out about the award at his troop’s annual holiday party. He’d known he was one of a handful of troopers in the running, but didn’t expect to be the winner.

“Of course, it’s based on your statistics, your tickets and wrecks and all, but they also look at what you do off duty, for charity, in the community,” said Black, who also operates SanLee Roofing. “We did a lot of free work for people who had damage during Hurricane Matthew and I think they liked that.”

The award plaque said he was “selected by his peers for his outstanding dedication, selfless service and leadership to the NCSHP, Troop D, and his community.”

The award is named for Trooper Dustin Ryan Bowick, who died in 2012 (subscription required), shortly after joining the Patrol.