Celebrating Wake County's Black Leaders

Portrait of Sheriff Gerald Baker


On Dec. 3, 2018, after serving 28 years in law enforcement, Gerald M. Baker was sworn in as the 54th Sheriff of Wake County. Sheriff Baker, a native of Raleigh, is a distinguished leader and tireless advocate and a hard worker for the community and the men and women who serve in the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Baker is focused and dedicated to rebuilding the Sheriff’s Office following the tenets of accountability, integrity, transparency and consistency. He understands these principles are conducive to community policing and ethical standards of conduct. His goal is to create a leaner, more effective office to better serve all residents of Wake County.

Sheriff Baker joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1991, under the administration of the late Sheriff John H. Baker, Jr., who served as the County’s first African American Sheriff. During his 28 years as a deputy, Sheriff Baker has developed a deep understanding of the operations of the office by serving in several capacities, including Courtroom Operations, Detention Transport, Patrol Division and Criminal Investigations. Sheriff Gerald Baker retired from Wake County as a sergeant in 2017, before devoting his attention to his campaign for sheriff.

He is a product of a close-knit family that understands the value of a good education. He is a proud graduate of Saint Augustine’s University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management. Sheriff Baker also completed the N.C. State Administrative Officers’ Management Program in 2001.

Sheriff Baker belongs to several local organizations including dedicated to improving the lives of citizens throughout Wake County and is a member of Rush Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Raleigh. When he is not in his office, you can find him spoiling his only grandchild or relaxing on the beach.


What do you see as your greatest accomplishment as an African American leader?
To be elected to serve every person who resides in Wake County through this Office. As we know, our county is home to citizens and people from different cultures, backgrounds, and choices. Law enforcement must serve all the people, all the time, regardless of any differences.

What is your “secret sauce,” or the leadership principles that have most contributed to your success?
The Golden Rule of Leviticus 19:18, which was quoted by Jesus and described by HIM as the second great commandment – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

In terms of leadership principles, it all begins with leading by example, followed by leadership being about people, focusing on needed change, integrity and accountability, to name a few.

How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader, and what are the keys to developing the next generation of leaders in government?
To insist on the highest level of standards, to think big, and to be obsessed with service. To have the ability to be and think like those you serve. To hire and develop the best employee(s) available.

With the benefit of hindsight, what advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
I would tell my 13-year old self be a better student in school than I was.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
I’ve not had or taken the time to read any books this year. I have to catch up.