Donnie Harrison was sworn in as Sheriff of Wake County on December 2, 2002. Sheriff Harrison 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, 2012, marked his 45th year in law enforcement.
For 26 years he served on the North Carolina Highway Patrol, where he worked Wake County exclusively, learning first-hand the challenges law enforcement officials face in our county. In addition to working Wake County, Donnie served as Chief of Security for the Lieutenant Governor,1988–92, and also taught numerous courses at the Highway Patrol Academy.
During his tenure with the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Donnie was certified and trained in numerous areas of crime prevention and law enforcement. In 1992 Governor James G. Martin honored him as a recipient of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. This award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to their communities, exhibited extra effort in their careers, and served their organizations for many years.
Sheriff Harrison has also been recognized as one of Wake County’s top canine search and rescue handlers. He has trained his own dogs and has voluntarily offered his services to find lost Alzheimer’s patients, lost children, and to track down criminal suspects for local law enforcement agencies.
Since taking office, Sheriff Harrison has been a hands-on Sheriff. Sheriff Harrison works the road, shows up at calls, checks in with the detention staff, goes on drug raids, and accompanies detectives as they investigate cases.
“I always said I would be a working Sheriff, out there with our employees,” Harrison says. “With over 45 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 am proud to work side by side with them.”
Sheriff Harrison grew up in Bear Grass, North Carolina. When he joined the patrol, he was assigned to Wake County and remained here until he retired as a Sergeant. He currently lives in Garner. He has two daughters, one granddaughter and one grandson.