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Public-Safety Center Could Bear Former Sheriff's Name

Posted November 19, 2007

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— Wake County might give another honor to former sheriff John H. Baker, who served for more than two decades.

The county Board of Commissioners will consider renaming the Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh after Baker. A resolution will be introduced at the board's meeting on Monday afternoon.

Baker passed away at the age of 72 on Oct. 31 after a lengthy illness. Wake County voters made him the first black sheriff in the state since Reconstruction when they elected him in 1978.

Baker held that office until 2002 when he lost to current-Sheriff Donnie Harrison by 2,200 votes.

The resolution praises Baker as "an innovator in law enforcement" for modernizing the sheriff's office, creating its first homicide unit and a voluntary firearm registration system.

It also cites Baker's "legacy of firsts," as the first black person to be appointed to the state Parole Board. Baker's father was also Raleigh's first black police officer.

Baker helped secure $56 million in funding for the public-safety center on Salisbury Street, which opened in 1991. It houses the sheriff's office, public safety department and county detention center.

18 Comments

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  • leo-nc Nov 20, 2007

    "Harrison was "fooling" around with a married woman and he was still elected-- so dont think finding any "dirt" would make any difference. The building should have Baker's name! Harrison could use a good bath using a strong detergent."

    At least get all of your facts straight. That woman had been separated for quite some time before they ever got together, so big deal. This is what I would call a bunch of non-dirt.

  • superman Nov 20, 2007

    Harrison was "fooling" around with a married woman and he was still elected-- so dont think finding any "dirt" would make any difference. The building should have Baker's name! Harrison could use a good bath using a strong detergent.

  • The Fox Nov 19, 2007

    Maybe the county can sell the naming rights. Every one else seems too.

  • Tax Man Nov 19, 2007

    I think it is appropriate to name the jail after John Baker. He was the sheriff who built it and ran it until he was beaten in an election by our current sheriff. It is a fitting honor for this man!

  • roe Nov 19, 2007

    Here we go again always looking for a reason not to honor someone who has made a difference in this county. What is to early when he gave 24 yrs of service to the county.
    Some of you people on here really show ignorance.

  • blackdog Nov 19, 2007

    ......question authority...I say it too often. If any LEO on this planet deserves this honor, John Baker DOES. If any man can show otherwise...I'll kiss his ...on the court house steps at high noon.

  • superman Nov 19, 2007

    If they didnt find dirt all the times he was running for reelection-- dont think there is any to be found. They would have smeared him in every campaign if they could have found something. Not a Baker "fan" but do believe he was honest and dedicated and did his best-- thats all anyone can expect.

  • districtcadvocate Nov 19, 2007

    I think it very appropriate to name the Wake County Public Safety Center after Sheriff John H. Baker, Jr and I commend the County Commissioners for their consideratio of this great honor for such a great man.

  • domonickj Nov 19, 2007

    Believe me, if he had any "dirt" in his past, it would've came out by now. The man served for 24 years...anything negative would've ben publicized during that time. I say honor the man and name a building he helped build after him. Most buildings are named for men who had nothing to do with building it anyway, and like Mr. French said, nobody has a problem naming a building after a former slave holder around here so at least name a building for a man who have a great record for serving in public office!

  • john283594 Nov 19, 2007

    I am not sure when the complex was named after Mayor Upchurch, but it was soon after his death. He died in 1994 and I think the complex was named after him when I worked downtown in 1995-1996.

    I think it is a good idea to honor Sheriff Baker, why not? He was a fine and fair man.

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