ECU police officers receive UNC System’s Valor Award

East Carolina University police officers William Brown and Michael Fecteau have received the Valor Award from the University of North Carolina System. The officers were recognized Thursday by the UNC Board of Governors in a meeting at ECU.

“Their courage, compassion and dedication to service are a credit to themselves, your leadership, East Carolina University, and the entire law enforcement community,” Frederick Sellers, vice president of safety and enterprise risk management for the UNC System, said in a letter announcing the award.

Brown and Fecteau helped three students in mental health crises at different times last year.

“As they quickly built rapport with those in crisis, they were able to safely pull them out of danger,” ECU Police Chief Jon Barnwell said. “Their actions were truly heroic. As police officers, we are charged with protecting the public. Police officers must perform at their best when others are facing their worst.”

Brown, left, and Fecteau have more than 30 years combined experience with ECU Police.

Barnwell, who nominated the officers, praised their empathy, sincerity, decision-making and determination in helping the students. It is the first time that ECU officers have received the Valor Award, although others have previously been nominated.

Brown and Fecteau are veteran officers with more than 30 years combined experience. “Both individuals exemplify our core values and ECU’s motto, servire,” Barnwell said. “Officer Brown and Officer Fecteau are prime examples of the type of officer we look for when attempting to hire new staff. They are student centered and work tirelessly for East Carolina. ECU is blessed to have them serve this institution.”

Brown is a master patrol officer and serves as team security for ECU’s football team. He works as a patrol officer on both the main and health sciences campuses. He serves as a field training officer for new officers, helping them learn their duties and ECU policies and patrol procedures. He also fills in as a shift supervisor when needed. A Williamston native, Brown earned an associate degree in criminal justice at Pitt Community College and a bachelor’s degree at the University of Mount Olive. “It’s a complete honor receiving this award,” he said. “I’m just glad I was able to help someone who needed help.”

Fecteau is a master patrol officer in the community affairs division. He provides safety and security programs on campus and assesses on-campus security including blue light phones, cameras, panic buttons and safe rooms. He is the liaison officer with all visiting football teams, and the department’s coordinator for Special Olympics of N.C. A Middlebury, Connecticut, native, Fecteau is an ECU alumnus, receiving a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in security studies. “I am humbled and honored to be receiving this award. Being able to help people is the reason I became a police officer and to be recognized for it is a privilege,” he said.

Brown and Fecteau are two of seven officers commended for acts of valor by the Board of Governors.

“These are great folks doing a great job. They are exemplary people, and in the case of those who are receiving recognition for acts of valor, your service is lifesaving,” board member Terry Hutchens said in announcing the officers on Thursday. “Please join me in thanking these dedicated law enforcement officers.”

The other Valor Award recipients are Johnny Brown and Tylor Greene of Appalachian State University, Shelton Harris and Greg Hughes of N.C. Central University, and Matthew Prewitt of the North Carolina Arboretum.

In addition, the system recognized Officer of the Year for 2020 and 2021. They are Whitney Montgomery of UNC-Asheville (2020) and Mike Reynolds of UNC-Charlotte (2021).

Pirate Profile: William Brown