Donnie Harrison was first elected Sheriff of Wake County in 2002 and was re-elected to second, third, and fourth terms, in 2006, 2010 and 2014. He is the first certified law enforcement officer to be elected Sheriff in Wake County. Before serving Wake County as its Sheriff, Donnie Harrison was a veteran law enforcement officer. May 10, 2016, marked his 49th year in law enforcement.
For 26 years he served on the North Carolina Highway Patrol, being assigned to Wake County during his entire career. In addition to working in Wake County, Sheriff Harrison served as Chief of Security for the Lieutenant Governor from 1988–1992 and also taught numerous courses at the Highway Patrol Academy. He retired in 1993 at the rank of Sergeant.
Sheriff Harrison has also been recognized as one of Wake County's top canine search and rescue handlers. Even before he was elected Sheriff, he trained his own dogs and voluntarily offered his services to find lost Alzheimer's patients, lost children, and to track down criminal suspects for local law enforcement agencies.
While law enforcement has been an integral part of Sheriff Harrison's life, it has not been his only interest. He has served as a volunteer firefighter, a youth softball coach, and was a highly respected high school and college basketball official. Sheriff Harrison has the rare distinction of having received the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine, not once but three times, from three different governors.
Since taking office, Sheriff Harrison has been very much a hands-on Sheriff. He works the road on both day and night shifts, responds to calls, checks in with the detention staff, participates on drug raids and accompanies investigators as they work cases.
"I always said I would be a working Sheriff, out there with our employees," Harrison says. "With over 49 years of law enforcement experience, I've been there and know what they face. I want them to know that I love law enforcement just as they do and I am proud to work side by side with them."
Sheriff Harrison grew up in Bear Grass, North Carolina. He currently lives in Garner and is a member of Holland United Methodist Church. He has two daughters, one granddaughter and one grandson.