Team Biographies

Our Training

W. Craig Johnson (Collision Reconstruction Unit-Cary)

A Halifax County native, Craig has faithfully protected the citizens of North Carolina since 1992, serving alongside his brothers and sisters of the State Highway Patrol in Warren, Vance, Franklin, Chowan, North Hampton and Halifax Counties. Currently assigned to the Troop I Collision Reconstruction Unit in Cary, Craig investigates some of the most horrific crashes, but takes great pride in being the advocate for those no longer given a voice. Since 2014, Craig has been fortunate to lead the NCTA Caisson Unit as they tirelessly honor fallen members of Law Enforcement and their families following such gallant service. Craig married his loving and supportive wife, Geneva, in 1997. In 2003, God blessed them with their beautiful daughter, Nyah. Although he tends to stay busy serving the State he’s spent a lifetime calling "home," Craig unwinds with family and friends, and by bass fishing on his boat whenever the opportunity arises.


Chesley McGinnis-(C6 Johnston County)

Chesley has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 2003. Married to his wife Amy, they have two children. A native of Clayton, he is currently assigned to Smithfield. Chesley has been a proud charter member of the Caisson Unit since 2006. In 2015 he was selected as the Caisson Team Leader.


Erica Bass (G5 Haywood County)

Erica has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 2008. Her interest in horses began at the age of 13 while taking riding lessons at Hyder Mtn. Horse Farm. This led to her first job, on the farm, as a stable hand. She worked there until she joined the Highway Patrol at the age of 21. Erica has had the privilege of serving on the Caisson Unit since 2014.


Robert Rhodes (B1 Cumberland County)

Robert Rhodes has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 2013. He joined the Highway Patrol after serving 7 years at Stoney Point Fire Department in Fayetteville, NC. He currently is stationed in Cumberland County. He is married to his wife Felicia and has two daughters Jenna and Lexi, who all love horses. He spent summers learning to ride horses with his Aunt Vicki who operates Blue All Arabians in Evans, GA. He joined the Caisson unit in July of 2016 and plans to stay with the Caisson Unit until he retires


Jerel Walter (C4 Franklin County)

Jerel joined the patrol in 2009 as a member of the 126th Basic school. Jerel is married to Latisha and their marriage produced one child Jamison. Jerel enjoys sports and spending time with family and friends. Jerel joined the Caisson Unit in September of 2016 and is proud and excited to be apart of such and honorable and respected Unit.


Michael A. Anderson (C3 Wake County)

Michael (Mike) has served the State of North Carolina for over 23 years. He began his career with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in 1994 as a Telecommunicator at Troop C Raleigh Radio. He also worked for the North Carolina State Capitol Police in Raleigh where he was a Lieutenant over Patrol. He has served as a Trooper since 2006 and is currently stationed in Wake County. He also currently serves in the United States Army Reserves with over 26 years of service and currently holds the rank of First Sergeant. He has been a proud member of the Caisson Unit since 2016.


Dennis P TaFoya (B9 New Hanover Country)

Dennis has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 1994. Dennis has a daughter Conner 23 and a son Christian 19. He is a native of East Los Angeles, California. Dennis got his first horse when he was 10 years old and named him Comanche. He has been a member of the NCSHP honor guard for 21 years and has been a proud and honored member of the Caisson Unit since 2013.


Bennie Grady- (C2 Wayne County)

Bennie has been a Trooper with the NC Highway Patrol since 2002. My first duty station was C6 Johnston County and I have been serving C2 Wayne County since 2006. My wife’s name is Pamela and we were married on October 6, 2007. We reside in Goldsboro, NC and love animals. We currently have 7 horses, 5 dogs and a cow named Sampson. I was fortunate enough to join the Caisson team in 2017 and feel that it is a great honor. It’s a very humbling experience to be a part of a respectful service that is given to someone who gave their all so others could have a better life.


Dexter E Altman (Woody) (H962 Anson County)

Dexter is a native of Richmond County and joined the North Carolina State Patrol in 1993 as part of the 92nd basic patrol school. Dexter is married to Donna and has five children Trey, Devin, Sara Kathryn, Becca, and Maggie. He has been a member of the caisson since March of 2013 and is proud to represent the Highway Patrol and the Troopers Association as a member of the caisson unit. The caisson unit is currently housed at Dexter and Donna's farm in Monroe NC where they take great pride in caring for the horses.


Jim Bray (A1 Dare County)

Jim joined the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in 1993 as part of the 91st Basic Patrol School, after serving four years in the United States Marine Corps. He is a native of Chowan County. Jim is married to Kimberly and they have two sons, Cole and Dalton. He has been a member of the Caisson Unit since March 2013 and takes great pride in representing the NCSHP in such a positive manner.


Justin Bullard ( B- Cumberland Co.)

I’ve served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 2013. I’m a native of Robeson county and this is also the county that I currently reside in. I’m also a volunteer fireman and I enjoy helping people in any way that I can. I’m a member the Highway Patrol honor guard as well. Outside of work I enjoy hunting, fishing, and going to gym. The guys on the Caisson gave me the nickname "Tiny". I’ve been a member of the caisson unit since 2017.


Clifton R. Mangum, Jr (F3 Caldwell County)

“Caisson Cliff” has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 1991. He is a native of Person County. He has two sons, Ethan and Cody, both serve in the military. Cliff has been a proud member of the Caisson Unit since March of 2013. He joined the Caisson Unit because he feels it is a positive image for the patrol.


Robert R. Dial (B7 Robeson County)

Robert has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 2006. He has dedicated his life as a public servant for 14 years, including serving with the 82nd Airborne Division and participating in two major conflicts: Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Robert achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant during his commitment while serving in the United States Army. Robert has been a proud member of the Caisson Unit since 2011.


B. Scott Smith (G4 Buncombe County)

Scott has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 2000 and is currently stationed in Asheville, NC. A native of Haywood County, Scott grew up on a farm where he got his first horse, Eagle – A Tennessee Walking Horse, at 5 years old. He assisted his father with raising horses for show throughout his life. Scott was also a member of the 4H Horse Club in Haywood County. He attended Liberty University where he received his Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice degree with honors. Scott has been in law enforcement since 1997, serving with the Canton Police Department prior to the NC Highway Patrol. Scott has been a chartered member of the Caisson Unit since 2006.

"I am very proud of how the NCTA Caisson Unit has grown since its genesis. It has become an honor to be part of a team whom has made countless sacrifices to honor fallen heroes in North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. God continues to bless this Unit every year." Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)

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