‘Passion for people’: Man who was first Black officer at Gaston County department dies

DALLAS, N.C. — Police in the Gaston County town of Dallas are mourning the loss of Isaac Carter Jr., who was the town’s first Black police officer.

He died this week at the age of 86 and his family spoke to Channel 9′s Ken Lemon about their plans to honor him.

Clarissa Carter-Barber took Lemon back to the old Dallas Police Department where her father fought crime and more.

“I remember coming in, sitting in my daddy’s lap in the chair,” she said.

She was a small child when Isaac Carter Jr. became the only Black man on the force at the old Dallas Police Department. He started work in 1973, a time when there were few Black people wearing a badge anywhere in the South.

“Oftentimes, he would come home with stories when people didn’t really accept him in uniform,” Carter-Barber said.

She said those were difficult days, but her father was determined to protect and serve the people of Dallas. He became a respected officer, eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant and becoming second in command.

He retired after two decades on the force.

“He had such a heart for the community,” Carter-Barber said. “He had a passion for people.”

Current Chief Robbie Walls showed Carter-Barber a replica of the badge her father wore. Robbie said Carter was always proud of his time in law enforcement.

“Yes sir. Every time I saw him, he made sure I knew he was a police officer here in Dallas,” Walls said.

He said Carter always had advice about policing.

“You could still see that the police was still inside of him,” he said. “That was just in his blood, and I don’t think he ever shook that.”

Carter died in Cherryville of natural causes, family members said.

On Monday, he’ll get a police escort from Cherryville to his final resting place. The police procession will end at Gaston Memorial Park with a graveside memorial service. That service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday.

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