04CarlotonSallieWho’s the role model? Those of you who know, or have gotten to know me, understand that I have a strong belief in being a leading example for not only my family, but also for the community, and my workplace. I moved to North Carolina 24 years ago after I joined the U.S. Army to serve my time in The All-American city. Although you can’t tell by looking at me, I came from an era of tough times. I know what it’s like to go without when it comes to basic needs. Growing up on the tough streets of Dayton, Ohio, I learned to fend for myself and others. There’s more to me than being the sheriff candidate.

Just walking to school, I’d see drug dealers, prostitution, gangs. I’d see the hustlers and bustlers. My sister said she knew that if a fight broke out, I was either in it or watching it in the alley.

My mom died when I was 17, and I had no father except for my grandpa. My grandparents took me in and raised me in a Christian environment, which prevented me from getting lost in the system. They taught me that material things don’t make a person. They provided a strong family structure that helped me to become empathetic toward others and their situations. For example — single moms. I have a special place in my heart toward single moms.

I watched my mom everyday do what she had to do without my father until she died. We depended on food stamps until I was in middle school, and I know how to respect the value of a dollar. My difficult past helped me to become the man I am today.

Children tug on my heart strings, also. As a kid being bussed from one side of town to the other
for school, I learned about diversity. We never had school in the same building every year like you do. One year I’d go to a school and the next year I’d go to another. Those kids, each coming from different backgrounds, soon learned that I was the “defender against the bullies.” Hence, the root of why I entered law enforcement.

I always wanted to be that shield. I saw friends in high school get shot or become addicted. Ya see, gangs start when there’s no family structure. Who’s the role model? A child yearning for a father figure or guidance seeks that family structure in another area, and most of the time it’s through gangs. Gangs are a family of their own. They look after each other. And when you have the drug dealer coming in a nice car with money and jewelry, it’s enticing to that kid who’s struggling. That’s the role model those kids notice. Poverty and crime are a bad mix, and they always go hand in hand.

I want those kids to notice a different, positive role model. I believe there’s a humble heart in everyone, but you just have to find it. As a leader, I’ve always gone by the three L’s—listen, lead and learn. I put that into work and home. My wife of 17 years and three children (two boys and one girl) make my world a better place and help me to better understand how blessed I am. I sincerely give credit to my wife as being my biggest supporter and my best friend. God really brought her into my life.

I worked hard to become who I am today. After my military stint, I decided to stay in North Carolina and currently reside in Cumberland County. With over 3,500 hours in military, law enforcement and overseas police training, I am a versatile leader who understands every situation is different. So, who’s the role model? I plan to be that role model.


PHOTO: Carlton Sallie

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