Kannapolis Police Department Awards Presented > City of Kannapolis | City of Kannapolis

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The Kannapolis Police Department recently held its annual police awards ceremony. Several members of the Kannapolis Police Department were honored with the most prestigious awards given by the department based on their service and performance to residents and their fellow police officers.

“These individuals represent the very best of our staff. Each one works daily to ensure we have a safe and reliable presence in our community. Their efforts are appreciated and valued in our department,” commented Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry.

Officer Hunter Wood was presented with the Roger Dale Carter Memorial Service Award, given in memory of Kannapolis Police Officer Carter, who died in the line of duty on December 31, 1993.  This award is presented annually to a sworn officer who has rendered exceptional service, and whose character and integrity exemplify the highest ideals of law enforcement.

Officer Wood previously received a Unit Commendation for exemplary service in 2023 and he has also received several letters of commendation.

He began his career with the Kannapolis Police Department as a Patrol Officer Trainee in 2016. He is a graduate of Rowan Cabarrus Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Program.

Wood transferred from Patrol to the Felony Investigations Unit in 2019 and then to the Vice Narcotics Unit in 2020. He is currently assigned to Patrol Squad B and is designated as a Field Training Officer for the department.

He is a graduate of Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear, Arizona. After graduating high school, he entered the United States Army as a Calvary Scout and completed the following trainings: Airborne School, Sniper School, and Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course. He holds an Intermediate Law Enforcement Certificate from the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

He and his wife, Tayte, have two children: a daughter, Hunnington, and a son, Huxton.

Records Specialist Katie Ruiz was awarded the Norma C. Howard Memorial Service Award. Norma Howard was the first female and full-time civilian police employee in Kannapolis and was instrumental in establishing the records management system. This award is presented annually to a civilian police department employee who conducts both their personal and professional lives in a manner that is consistent with the department’s values and code of ethics.

Katie has an associate in arts degree from Cape Fear Community College. She began her career with the Kannapolis Police Department as a Telecommunicator in 2016 and she transferred to the Records Division as a Records Specialist in 2019. She received a Unit Commendation for exemplary service in the performance of duty during an officer-involved shooting that occurred in 2017.

She and her husband Gaspar have one daughter, Amelia. Katie is the daughter of Scott and Sandy Pohlman of Rockwell.

Officer Austin Purser was presented with the Rookie of the Year Award. The Rookie of the Year Award is presented annually to a sworn or civilian employee who has been employed with the Police Department for less than three years, and who demonstrates a strong work ethic, positive attitude, and willingness to work cooperatively.

Officer Purser began his career with the Kannapolis Police Department as a Police Officer Trainee in 2021. He graduated from Rowan Cabarrus Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Program in 2021. He is currently assigned to Patrol Squad D.

Purser is a graduate of Piedmont High School in Monroe and a graduate of Mars Hill University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Purser also has a master’s degree in criminal justice. He is the son of Richard and April Purser.

Officer Nathan Feinstein was presented with the Traffic Safety Award. This award is presented annually to the sworn employee who has made a great impact in improving highway and traffic safety in Kannapolis.

Officer Feinstein began his career with the Kannapolis Police Department as a Police Officer in 2021. He is currently assigned to Patrol Squad D.

Nathan is a graduate of Enloe Magnet High School in Raleigh and a graduate of Louisburg College with an associate in arts in General College. He is a graduate of Wake Technical Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Program.

He is the son of Adee Feinstein and Patty Buryj of Cary.

Officer Devin Steele was awarded the Team Above Self Award. This award is presented to the officer who displays a high level of teamwork and who always puts the needs of the agency, squad, team and shift ahead of their own needs.

Officer Steele began his career with the Kannapolis Police Department as a Police Officer Trainee in 2021. He is a graduate of Rowan Cabarrus Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Program.

Steele has served as both a Patrol Officer and as a School Resource Officer in Kannapolis. He is currently assigned to Patrol Squad A.

He is a graduate of Olympic High School in Charlotte and Shaw University where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice. His prior work experience includes serving as a Detention Officer with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and a Youth Counselor with the Salvation Army.

Steele has one daughter, Emori. He is the son of Lisa Steele Hughes and Alvy Hughes.

Records Supervisor Sonya Furr was awarded the Leadership Award. This award is presented annually to the supervisor, either sworn or civilian, who best displays the leadership traits that help to further the mission of the department. 

Sonya began her career with the Kannapolis Police Department as a Telecommunicator in 1995. In 2008 she was promoted as one of the department’s first Telecommunicator Shift Supervisors. She was reassigned to the Records Division in 2014 and promoted to Supervisor in 2015.

A graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, she has received several commendations during her tenure and in 2004 was named the recipient of the Norma C. Howard Memorial Service Award. She also received Unit Commendations in 2010 and 2013.

Sonya is married to Dennis Furr. They have one son, David, and a grandson, Mason.