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Harrison Takes Oath As Wake County Sheriff

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Donnie Harrison was sworn in as Wake County's new sheriff Monday morning, ending the 24-year reign of John Baker.

Harrison is a 26-year veteran of the state Highway Patrol, a small business owner and a basketball referee.

Surrounded by his daughters and grandaughter, Harrison took the oath of office in a ceremony at the BTI Center.

Harrison thanked Sheriff John Baker for his years of service, and thanked his supporters citing a line from his late father. "If you see a turtle on a fencepost, you know he didn't get there by himself," Harrison said.

His speech turned emotional when he recognized his late wife, Gale.

"I know she's up there smiling down for me. I want to dedicate this ceremony to her and thank her so much," he said.

Last week, Harrison announced his new hires and priorities for his administration.

He said his first priority will be addressing jail overcrowding. Harrison also said he would evaluate the employees over the first 120 days with the help of his new chief of staff, Larry Wood, a former Highway Patrol sergeant.

The Sheriff's Office has 514 employees. Harrison says he does not have any plans to clean house, but said some employees may be moved around.

Harrison said he also plans to look at reducing response times, expanding the canine unit and creating a team to deal with school emergencies.

Wake County deputies and detention officers were also sworn in during Monday morning's ceremony.

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