Name as it appears on the ballot: Donnie Harrison
Full legal name, if different: Donald E. Harrison
Date of birth: 3.1.46
Home address: 7905 Fogleman Lane, Garner, NC
Campaign website: donnieharrison.org
Occupation & employer: Wake County Sheriff/Wake County
Home phone: 919.772.2431
Work phone: 919.856.7565
1. How do you rate the current functioning of the Sheriff’s Office? What’s good? What’s not so good and needs improvement?
I think the Sheriff's Office is functioning very well. Since I took office in 2002, we have reduced response time by reallocating resources and putting more deputies on the road, improved jail operations, instituted a more proactive management style, improved training for all supervisors, implemented the 287 (g) program, and opened a new training facility. Officers' salaries always need to be improved.
2. Of those functions that are NOT working, what measures would you take to improve them?
The Wake County Sheriff's Office will continue to find ways to improve citizens' services, making sure that we fulfill our oaths to serve and protect the public.
3. Public services across our state are facing shrinking budgets. What expenditures by the sheriff’s office or jail could be reduced?
We have cut back to the point that any more cuts will mean a loss of personnel.
4. What have been your most notable contributions to the law enforcement agencies for which you have worked? Please be specific.
As a trooper, I gave the North Carolina Highway Patrol honest, hard work. As Sheriff of Wake County I have expanded our K-9 unit from 1-13 dogs; organized a Special Response Team that responds to critical incidents; implemented an Impact Team that conducts enforcement operations designed to arrest criminal offenders and suppress a wide variety of criminal activity from street drug sales to traffic violations; implemented the Sheriff's Traffic Observation Patrol Team (STOP) that patrols high crime areas and actively enforces traffic laws; implemented the Citizens Well-check Program where we check on the elderly every day of the year; partnered with the Pilot Club of Raleigh to implement Project Lifesaver a program for Alzheimer's patients, autistic children, and anyone with cognitive impairments who wander; started the Law Enforcement Adventure Camp for middle school students interested in a law enforcement career.
5. With regard to the department’s work as a police force for the county, what changes will be needed over the next four years to serve and protect the fast-growing Wake County population?
Even in the middle of a recession, we are continuing to see high growth in Wake County. As a result, we will continue to focus on additional resources, more manpower, and equipment to improve patrols in all neighborhoods across Wake County.
6. Is the department doing enough about drugs in the county? Too much? Are the resources used in this area well-spent, or could some of the time and money devoted to anti-drug efforts be better spent some other way?
No, any time there are drugs in the county we still have more work to do.
7. How is the sheriff’s office currently working to reduce gang participation and crime in Wake County? What can the department do in addition to reduce this problem?
We work with other agencies; participate in GangNet; send our School Resources Officers to gang training to educate parents, teachers, and students to recognize if there are gangs or gang signs in our schools; consistently have gang training for deputies; use the 5th floor of the Wake County jail as a classification floor to identify gang members and collect information about them. We continue to educate officers and the public about gangs and sit on the Wake County Gang Prevention Task Force.
8. Hispanic and Latino residents represent a growing part of Wake County’s population. What efforts has the sheriff’s office made to serve these residents’ specific needs? What should the department do to improve those services?
We continue to do community outreach to the Hispanic community. We distribute Eyes and Ears Cards in Spanish. These cards give information on whom to call if there is a problem in the community. I have an Open Door Policy so anyone can come to me and express concern regardless of their race, creed, or color. If we have an incident involving someone who cannot speak English, we use the language line or one of our officers who speaks Spanish. We also have hired as many Spanish speaking personnel as possible.
We continually seek ways to educate our personnel on the Hispanic culture and the needs of the Hispanic community.
9. The Wake County Sheriff’s Office is one of several departments actively enforcing immigration law under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. For the incumbent sheriff: why do you support local action of this federal law? What has been the effect in Wake County of enforcing this law? If re-elected, would you continue the department’s efforts under this act, or change the way this is enforced, and why? For the new candidate: Do you support local enforcement of Section 287(g) and why? If elected, how would you dictate that the sheriff’s office enforces this act?
I support the 287 (g) program because I want to keep our county as safe as possible. I implemented the program to determine just who was in our jail. The effect of 287 (g) has been good. If re-elected I would continue this program because I believe it is a deterrent to those who commit crimes and take advantage of others. They know if they commit a crime and are arrested, we will learn their true identity and whether they are documented or undocumented.
10. On Nov. 2, N.C. voters will be asked to decide whether the state constitution should be amended to state that no convicted felon may serve as sheriff. Should convicted felons who have served their sentences be allowed to serve as sheriff? Why or why not?
No, I do not think that anyone with a felony conviction should be a Sheriff of any county.