Sheriff Donnie Harrison grew up poor on his family's Martin County farm and says he knew from the age of eight or nine he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement.
At 21, he joined the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and served 26 years. He was assigned to Wake County and never left.
In 2002, running as a Republican, Harrison unseated Wake's first African-American sheriff, John Baker, with a one percent margin of victory.
He has sailed through three elections since then, gaining respect on a range of issues.